This entry is first in my series of personal tributes to the Soulquarians, the dopest group of MCs, singers, and musicians to ever rock a mic, turn a knob or hit a drum. They all cross-pollinated each other's projects and to this day represent true artistry to the fullest. These are the artists that inspire the editors of this very music blog.
I loved J Dilla before I knew who he was. That is, I'd always appreciated his sound but never knew the man behind the beats or his full body of work. All I knew was, the joints on my radar at the time had this jazzy, optimistic, ethereal feel to them--but they knocked like Primo tracks. A strategically-placed piano melody or minimal horns were the things that infused his hip-hop beats with soul even if nary a sample was used.
Though I'd grown to eventually associate the moniker "Jay Dee" with the Ummah outfit, I still wasn't aware of his tenure with Slum Village, the Jaylib album or even Welcome 2 Detroit.
By the time it all came together and I (1) realized how much of his
work I actually owned and (2) how unforgivably late I was with the
rest, he left this earth.
The countless DJs, blogs and artists that constantly big-up Dilla's work keep his spirit, sound and soul alive with their mixtapes, tributes and reiterations. By this point, you can find most of his work somewhere online in one form or another and I encourage anyone who hasn't truly felt the reach of this man's music to look it up, listen to it, and buy it.
FAVORITE TRACKS: "The Love" (A Tribe Called Quest); "Nag Champa"
(Common); "Much More" (De La Soul); "Got 'Til It's Gone" (Janet
Jackson); "So Hardcore" (Busta Rhymes); "Ill Vibe" (Busta Rhymes); "The
Rhyme (Remix)" (Keith Murray); "Fall in Love (Remix)" (Slum Village);
"Thelonius" (Common & SV); "Like It Like That" (ATCQ); "Let's Ride" (Q-Tip)
J. Dilla Soul Sampler [download]
My Life Erykah Badu
Fanatic (Dilla Remix) Vivian Green
Me & Those Dreaming Eyes Of Mine (Jay Dee Remix) D'angelo
Got Till It's Gone (Ummah Jay Dee Mix) Janet Jackson
People Make The World Go Round (J88 Remix) Innerzone Orchestra
Without You (Jay Dee Remix) Lucy Pearl
So Far to Go J Dilla featuring Common & D'Angelo
Keep On (Feat. Slum Village) Dwele
Sometimes (Ummah Remix) Brand New Heavies
Dollar Steve Spacek
Antiquity Dwight Trible
I Believe In You (Jaylib Remix) Amp Fiddler
Oblighetto (J Dilla Remix) Jack McDuff
Think Twice J Dilla