The month of February is of course Black History Month but in the Hip-Hop community it’s also known as Dilla Month in honor of the legendary DJ /Producer / Musician James Dewitt Yancey better known as J. Dilla or Jay Dee. (Please see my “This One Is For Dilla” post from a few months ago.) Dilla passed away 5 years ago and would have been 37 this month.
To help ensure that his legacy never fades Director B. Kyle has put together a fantastic piece of work called “J. Dilla: Still Shining.” The video features interviews with Jay-Dee as well as him performing and in “The Lab”, doing what he did best which was create magic. There are also interviews with many DJs, Hip-Hop artists, Musicians, Singers and his mother Maureen Yancey aka “Ma Dukes.”
As I watched this with my girl we were both brought to tears. To see someone that was so passionate about making Music and sharing it with people, no matter his health or any other obstacles he faced, it was definitely…moving.
The way Dilla’s peers and fans talk about him reminds me of how some talk about Prince, Stevie Wonder or even the late, great Bassist Jaco Pastorius as there is one word that is often said: Genius.
To Detroit’s own James Dilla Yancey, in my mind, you were Hip-Hop’s Golden Boy and Hip-Hop…hell, Music in general needs you. It’s a shame that the ”industry” heads didn’t recognize you for the genius you were while you were here…but then again, you didn’t care about that (F***k the Grammys!). You just loved Music and wanted to share your gift with the World…for that, we thank you. You have influenced so many and your Music and name lives on. You are “Still Shining.”
You can view the entire J. Dilla “Still Shining” video below.