Today, February 7, is the birthday of the late, great innovator and producer James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J Dilla. In honor of the occasion, Yours Truly got together with Stones Throw’s Karriem Riggins, a close friend and collaborator of Dilla’s, to discuss Jay Dee’s life and impact in a new video. In the clip, Riggins also takes a seat behind his drum kit and MPC to bust out a performance of “J Dilla The Greatest” off of his 2012 debut, Alone Together. Making appearances as well are Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf and legendary turntablist J Rocc.
J Dilla was and still is an extraordinarily influential hip-hop artist, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, the Pharcyde and Common. In 2012, producer Flying Lotus discussed Dilla’s influence on him, explaining, “When I heard it, it sounded like someone was having spiritual experiences in the process of making it.” If you never have (or even if you have), do yourself a favor today and listen to J Dilla’s Donuts.
Watch the “J Dilla The Greatest” clip below, check out the posthumous Dilla track, “Dewitt To Do It,” that surfaced earlier this week, and read a birthday-inspired profile of his life here.