J Dilla, The Maestro of Beats, Remembered by Hip-Hop Peers
It has been five years since hip-hop production virtuoso James "J Dilla/Jay Dee" Yancey passed away from complications of lupus. In a too short career, the Detroit native amassed a substantial production discography with his group Slum Village, as a solo MC and via his collaborations with the likes of Q-Tip, Questlove and Erykah Badu. While Dilla may be gone, his music is still here and continues to resonate with fans, old and new. The BoomBox asked some of his peers -- Q-Tip, Black Milk, Peanut Butter Wolf and Ta'Raach -- how they were personally touched by the late, great Maestro of Beats.
Peanut Butter Wolf (DJ, Producer & Founder of Stones Throw Records)
Earl Gibson III, Getty Images
"I met [Dilla] through DJ House Shoes originally. House Shoes talked to me about him all the time, since 1994. I didn't even like Dilla's early stuff (for Busta Rhymes, Pharcyde, etc.) and thought he was overrated, until I heard the Slum Village stuff. When Madlib and I started working with him, he was on a whole other level -- the 'Welcome to Detroit' record and stuff like that.
"Dilla told me 'I'm gonna take you all on a ride,' and he did. He always complimented and encouraged Madlib and Stones Throw as well. He'd show (his then-roommate) Common music we put out and big us up to people like that. The other thing I enjoyed is that he kept his word. He wouldn't commit to something unless he was sure he'd do it. He never let me down. When I saw him on stage in a wheelchair, that flipped me out cuz he always kept his sickness