Spot Light on: JDilla (aka JayDee)

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J Dilla (1974 – 2006) , this is a name that always sings a tone to those that know this talented hip hop producer. He has fans all over the world and his music is only known to a few. To answer that question is to go into a very deep journey into the music industry as a whole, and its a journey that will reveal so much and inspire any one interested in modern music production.

JayDee was formally known as James Yancey and was born on 7th February 1974, and died 10th February 2006, in hospital after a long struggle with a medical condition. I have not personally known J Dilla although wish I did! I can only say i have gone into the journey of his music and still am on that journey, this article is not an autobiography on J Dilla, but rather a tribute to the man that has provided so much unrecognised talent in the Hip hop/Rap industry all over the world. Every year on the 7th of Feb many dj’s and producers pay tribute to the man himself and thus the day has been dubbed ‘Dilla day’; a celebration of the life and contribution that J Dilla has made to the betterment of our world through his music.

JayDee has produced for many hip hop and rap artists and has inspired even more producers. Having produced for Slum Village, Common, Erykah Badu, a Tribe called Quest, the Pharcyde, and even Tupac; every track that Dilla touches turns to gold, everytime an artist jumps on a Dilla beat it becomes a popular hit. It is the quiet, musically correct style that give Dilla the uniqueness in his tracks, and for any talented artist, jumping on a Dilla beat harmonises with your creativity.He has an extensive record collection which he uses to create some of the most unique sounds from classical and jazz records to produce a hip hop infused jazz sound, that presents a quality few fail to match. J Dilla has even been dubbed on of the worlds most foremost jazz innovators and his music has had an influenced in the way Jazz and Hip hop is made in the modern day, with those that wish to follow his school of thought. Below is a show called crate diggers that shows how extensive his record collection is/was.

jay dee

His owns solo releases include: Donuts, the Shining, Ruff Drafts, Dillatroit, and the list of beat tapes and more album collaborations is endless. Just in 2012 a hidden container which was a storage house belonging to JDIlla was found and handed over to his mother who handled the discovery. It contained most of his other beat tapes with previously undiscovered beats and test vinyl presses that has never been heard before. In my personal opinion all, and i mean all, the beats Dilla has made have a certain quality of silence about them, and many fail to copy that, because real talent cannot be copied. There have been many that were accused ofr biting some beats off of Dilla and have made stacks outta his beats but the best part of it all was that he did not mind! All he wanted was for his music to be heard, and would usually produce short tracks about a minute to two minutes long, which is why in his last solo album donuts (2006) he released only short tracks, some of which were only completed in his hospital bed prior to his passing. It is apparent that this would be the album that would have changed hip hop forever, one would figure that it would do that in another time.

some of JDilla’s vinyl releases image courtesy of

Below are some of the tracks produced by JDILLA enjoy and take a journey of your own into who is JDilla, check out: for more info.


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