J Dilla, looking back a year later...


9 Feb 2007, 1:39

Interview after interview, article after article, we've all read about Dilla's accomplishments, his talent, his genius. No one in their right mind would even dare dispute that he was, is and will be one of the greatest (in my opinion, the greatest) producers of all-time. So instead I'll take a page from grade school and simply write, "What J Dilla means to me…"

I was a hip hop novice, somewhere below a gumshoe, I could've fit what I knew about "real" hip hop in a thimble. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the best hip hop, though I didn't realize it at the time. But slowly I started to fall in love, but it wasn't to an emcee's raw lyrics, it was the beats.

Time and time again I'd say, "This beat is amazing!" and the same name kept coming up, J Dilla. I would have no clue what I was listening to and I'd hear a beat, exclaim my love for it and guess who it'd be…Dilla. Listening to Copywrite, what song was my favorite? "That's a wrap", I still don't know the words to half that song even though I've heard it tons of times, I always get lost in that beat.

Dilla isn't the only person that can create an amazing beat, but only Dilla could make a Dilla beat, it's like they're in a class all their own. You could give someone his drum kits, the same exact equipment, hell, put them in the same studio and they still couldn't make a Dilla beat. Genius like that cannot be replicated because I believe every beat, every lyric, was a little part of him, a little piece of his soul/mind laid out on the line to our listening pleasure.

It can't really write exactly how his music affects me or makes me feel, but emotions are always the hardest things to describe. If I'm happy, sad, whatever, there is always a song or beat to compliment or express my mood.

There was a night recently when some revelations about my mothers current state of health came to light, I couldn't say anything or do anything I felt paralyzed by fear and every other emotion that decided to rear it's head. I put on Donuts, because in my mind I think that cd represents some of the most important aspects of being: life, death and love. (Plus it always helps me think.) When "Last donut of the night" played, I put it on repeat. By the time I took it off repeat itunes showed that I had listened to it and additional 43 times… the things that I couldn't put into words, the beat was saying for me.

I hear his music, and I still can't believe that he's not here anymore, it's surreal. But, as I've said before, I don't believe life is linear, beginning, middle and end. Life instead is a cycle, and the proof is alive and well. J Dilla not only lives on through his music but through every single person he inspired and touched. The musicians will draw inspiration and create on their own path, the fans will share his music with others and the cycle will continue bringing new life, that doesn't sound like an end to me in any regard.

February will probably always be known as "Dilla month". Today on what would've been his 33rd birthday I wanted to pick a really meaningful song for my page. It's hard, because there is so many to choose from but, I settled on "The Official"

I choose this one because a year ago, after he had passed away I went to a tribute at The Knit. Even though JMP (where it was held) was always relatively empty normally, that night it was jam packed, of course. They'd play the "anthems" (Running, Fuck the Police, Fall in Love) and the crowd would go wild. But, I will never forget the wave of energy that burst from that crowd when they heard the opening of, "The Official", I could imagine that's sort of what a sonic boom would feel like, it was breathtaking and even writing this it still gives me chills.

He touched his fans so deeply, I can't even imagine how the people that knew him felt when they lost him, I cannot even begin to fathom it. I really hope that they take comfort in the fact that a lot of people understood and realized that he was something amazing and that there will never be another even close to James Yancey.
J DillaJay Dee


  • abdeloden

    I'm assuming you got the tribute DJ Soul made recently, what did you think?

    24 Mar 2007, 2:04
  • Akademi

    Know exactly what you mean. MasHOuT Mashalot MasHOuT

    8 Abr 2007, 21:31
  • johnkimble

    Songs like I don't know by SV will always make me reminisce about how dope Dilla was. Did you write this for a class or something? Haha. Good shit.

    6 May 2007, 19:55
  • BoogieJones

    Great thoughts girl... As hard as it is to realize Dilla isn't there anymore, I'm glad people like Madlib keep his spirit alive. Keep Dilla-Shit high.

    10 Feb 2008, 16:55
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