The works of renowned hip-hop producer J Dilla or Jay Dee is one throws listeners into calm chills. Today (Feb. 7) the late producer would have turned 44 years old.

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Dilla has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the 90s due to his ability to craft a signature approach for hip-hop measures. It is a given destiny being his mother Maureen Yancey a.k.a. Ma Dukes was formerly an opera singer and his father Beverly Dewitt Yancey was an instrumentalist, specializing as a jazz bassist.

A Detroit native Jay Dee became a district phenomenon with the formation of Slum Village, a trio collective featuring himself, Baatin-who died in 2009 and T3. Their debut album Fantastic (Vol. 1) heralded the ideal Detroit vibe with the display of Jay Dee’s mastery of blending samples embedded in jazz and soul hymns. The success of Fantastic lead to Dilla becoming a staple for production in the hip-hop circuit, eventually attracting acts in the likes of Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Common, Pharcyde, Busta Rhymes and countless more. He even crossed forces with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad and developed the production collective The Ummah whose focal point was to strategically craft glossy and cherrystone melodies for both hip-hop and r&b artists.


In early 2003, Dilla’s health began to deteriorate as he was diagnosed with a rare blood condition, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), which caused significant weight loss and strict use of medications. Dilla continued to work diligently, even teaming up with LA producer Madlib for the notable Jaylib LP. A year later, Jay Dee’s health worsened as he was diagnosed with Lupus, causing his travels and performing times to become limited. The condition led to several accounts of kidney failure and constant dialysis treatments, but Yancey continued to indulge in his passion as a producer. He went on to produce tracks for Common’s Be album.

Sadly, on February 10th, 2006, just three days after his birthday and the release of his third solo album, cult class Donuts, J Dilla passed away at the tender age of 32.

J Dilla is celebrated for his elite skill set behind blending samples and he was instrumentally active in reviving the jazz and rhythm and blues sound back to the limelight of hip-hop music. He develop a signature sound that became a branded demand by several hip-hop acts. Hip-hop culture has expressed high appreciation for the time, love and energy J Dilla dedicated towards the sound of Hip-Hop Culture.