Saturday, February 11, 2006
J Dilla, Dead at 32
Born James Yancey, he was a [inter]nationally influential producer and a champion of Detroit’s urban music scene. When hip-hop was largely being dominated by the East and West coasts, he put a distinct Detroit sound on many national acts.
He celebrated his 32nd birthday Tuesday with a new album release, “Donuts.”
Guided by an encyclopedic ear and a jazz musician’s touch, he molded a signature style that blended hip-hop street bounce with a progressive flair. Live instruments were digitally processed into strange new tones, and vintage soul samples mixed with obscure rock records, with his own warm synthesizer lines layered on top.
“He invented the sound of Detroit hip-hop,” said Waverly Alford, the Detroit rapper known as King Gordy. “He was Detroit hip-hop.”