I know I’m nearly 2 weeks late for Dilla Day, but honestly every day is Dilla day to me. In honour of the man and the legacy, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite Jay Dee produced/assisted tracks.
I think it’s important not only to acknowledge humans who have become iconic, but also to constantly question what it is about them or their body of work that resonates so deeply with us to the point we would openly give them the title of ‘legendary’.
For me with J Dilla, it’s a lot of things – Firstly, the diversity of his sound, his undeniable technical skill, his ear for samples and talent for picking out microscopic portions of a song and cutting/restructuring them into a completely contrasting creation, and his vast knowledge and respect for what seemed like every genre of music.
Furthermore, I love how on the surface his music can seem so uncomplicated and simple, but on closer investigation we begin to understand his genius through the complex and intricate layers which have been mixed and fused seamlessly to make the beat sound modest – They say less is more, but Dilla did more and made it appear as less.
Lastly, and most pertinently, it is his uncanny ability to project emotion through music like no one else. It is almost disarming the way a Dilla track can make you feel within seconds of pressing play. Although it’s hard to articulate this quality, anyone who is a fan will know exactly what I mean, and this is the mystery and magic of Jay Dee.