DJ / Producer Eric Lau was recently asked to do a mix…but not just any ol’ ordinary mix. The mix had to contain songs that fit the theme of his‘Last Night On Earth’. He took on the challenge and put together a compilation that contains Music he fell in love with as a child with some more recent joints by the late, great J. Dilla. Check out the playlist of songs that Eric would bump as he leaves Mother Earth. Oh yeah, download it for free while you still have the chance!
DJ / Producer Applejac has been doing his thing in the Music world for quite some time. Hailing from Decatur, GA, he started DJing at the age of 10! A serious Music lover, the talented DJ is known for his wide-ranging styles, spinning everything from Afrobeat, classic Hip Hop, Funk, Soulful House and many other genres.
With his latest release “Playin Favorites” you can get a taste of his incredible production skills. Inside you’ll find some smooth spoken word from Baldhead Queen (love the lyrics Nina!) some straight-up funk from Reggie B. and…well, have a listen for yourself. This one has grooves to get your head nodding as well as some laid back joints to help you unwind and get your mind right.
When I first heard that Elzhi had re-created the classic Nas release “Illmatic” all I could say was, “Whoa!” Illmatic…now Elmatic…word?
When Nas dropped Illmatic back in 1994, many compared him to Hip Hop icon, the GOD, Rakim. (It did feel like the 2nd coming had happened back then). The thought of someone re-creating that CD never entered my mind. However, I know how good Elzhi is so I had to take a listen right away. By the way, in case you didn’t know, Elzhi is from Detroit’s own Slum Village (rest in peace Baatin and J. Dilla).
First off, it’s good…VERY GOOD! Elzhi’s lyrical content is all fresh and new. His flow: Flawless. (Actually some of Elzhi’s content I can relate to a little more…not taking anything away from Nas’ joint.) Will Sessions’ production is tight.
One of the highlights for me on Elmatic’s release is the live instrumentation. As a Musician, I am a sucker for real instruments (no disrespect to my beat-maker homies out there) and the beats, groove and piano on some of these tracks…love it!
Well, I think I’ll stop right there and let you have a listen for yourself. You can download a free copy (I can’t believe this is free) by clicking on this link –> Elmatic
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.
Detroit’s own James “Dilla” Yancey (aka Jay Dee or J. Dilla). A Musician and Music producer who helped create Music for some of the best in Hip-Hop and R&B. The list includes, A Tribe Called Quest, Common, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Janet Jackson (remember Got ’til It’s Gone?) and his own group Slum Village. He was 100% dedicated to Music and didn’t care about awards or fame. So much so, that when Janet Jackson won a Grammy for a song he produced, he wasn’t phased one bit. (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis took the honors but the all the production credit goes to Dilla.) Just as Dilla’s Music and production skills were becoming more and more popular, he developed a rare blood disease called TTP. A true fighter, Dilla continued to work on Music while the disease began to take over his body. He never seemed to stop working, even while stuck in the hospital for dialysis treatment.
Unfortunately, a few days after days after his birthday in 2006, his Life ended due to complications from TTP and Lupus. He was only 32.
Since Dilla’s death there have been many Musical dedications by artists that worked with him or by those that were inspired by his Music (and his work ethic). However, there is one that stands out and I listen to or watch the live performance several times a week. (I’m actually watching as I type this.)
A Suite For Ma Dukes. A 15 song performance by a 60 piece orchestra with Music that was arranged, composed and conducted by MIguel Atwood-Ferguson (who’s also an incredible violinist). According to Miguel, some of the Musicians had no idea who Dilla was when he first asked them to participate in this project. However, after I watched for the first time and listened to how they interpreted his Music, it seemed like they knew him personally. Also included in the orchestra is drumming sensation Karriem Riggins. Karriem (who’s also a Detroit native) was a friend of Dilla and collaborated with him.
I first discovered this Musical project very early in 2010. After watching a couple of performances on Mochilla’s website I immediately pre-ordered the TIMELESS DVD set. (The TIMELESS set also includes live performances by Mulatu Astatke and Arthur Verocai which I’ll cover later.) I’m sure I annoyed several of my FB friends as I seemed to be posting the few video clips that were available every other week. I couldn’t help it though as this was some of the best Music I had ever heard (and felt).
After receiving the DVD I watched it right away. It was more amazing than I thought it was going to be. To listen to a 60 piece orchestra play the Music of a gifted, Detroit Hip-Hop/R&B producer who was humble and didn’t care about the accolades…to play his Music with so much passion…well, it was moving. (I’m not ashamed to say that I got choked up a few times.)
Here are a couple of clips from the Suite For Ma Dukes DVD
Untitled / Fantastic (originally performed by Slum Village)
Hoc N Pucky (originally performed by Slum Village)
I don’t wanna share too much as there are a few surprises towards the end. If you are a Dilla fan or a fan of some of the artists he produced or just wanna hear some good Music, please pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.
As Dilla’s legacy lives on, I’m sure there will be more and more tributes but A Suite For Ma Dukes will continue to remain in a class by itself.
The TIMELESS DVD set was a limited release however, there are a few copies remaining at Amazon: A Suite For Ma Dukes