Not many names excite hip hop heads the way “Dilla” does. Through his work with A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ), Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu and his own group Slum Village, the producer’s name has become synonymous with legendary.
Without knowing it, i became a J. Dilla fan when ATCQ’s “Stressed Out” hit the college radio waves. My appreciation grew with De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High,” the Pharcyde’s “Runnin'” and many other hip hop classics. Sometime between Common’s Like Water for Chocolate and Ms. Badu’s “Didn’t You Know”/Mama’s Gun, i began to consider myself a “true” Dilla fan.
Now, several years after his death, a number of documentaries have taught me just how expansive his catalog and influence were/are. Only DJ Premier, Diddy (yes, you read it correctly), Pete Rock, and a few others have impacted hip hop music and culture to the degree that Dilla has. I don’t know if any have made such a large imprint as he did in the short time that he was actively involved in the music industry.
For that reason — his influence on and contribution to hip hop culture — i’m making Feb. 7 Dilla day! Just kidding… sort of. To celebrate, here are a couple of my favorite Dilla songs.
What are some of your faves?