Bonus track from The Diary
The Estate of James Yancey has revived J Dilla’s longstanding company PayJay as a functioning imprint to release Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary on April 15th, in conjunction with Mass Appeal Records.
Initially intended for release in 2002, The Diary is the final batch of unissued material that Dilla had assembled for release during his lifetime, lending crucial insight into the producer’s prowess and thought process in the period leading up to his break with the major label system and the extremely fertile period that followed (which encompassed the making of the canonical classics Ruff Draft, Jaylib, and Donuts). The Diary features vocal performances by J Dilla, Snoop Dogg, Bilal, Kokane, Frank and Dank, Nottz and Boogie, over production by Dilla, Madlib, Pete Rock, Hi-tek, Nottz, House Shoes, Supa Dave West, Bink! and Karriem Riggins. The album was announced in an interview with Nas on Zane Lowe’s show on Beats1 with the never-before-heard song “The Introduction.”
The Diary was Dilla’s attempt to take advantage of the attention afforded him after his brightest period as a behind-the-scenes hit-maker and influencer. However, the project stalled and the album was literally shelved, the reels languishing in storage in Detroit as a relocated Dilla began a creative renaissance in Los Angeles. The Diary in this, its final form, was painstakingly assembled over a ten year period from two-track mixdowns and multi-track masters found in J Dilla’s archives after his death in 2006. The completion of The Diary was overseen by The Estate of James Yancey’s Creative Director Eothen Alapatt, long term general manager of Stones Throw Records and A&R for Donuts and Jaylib, whose previous archival Dilla work includes the expanded Ruff Draft issue from 2008. The Estate of James Yancey is overseen by California’s Probate Court on behalf of Yancey’s four heirs – his mother, Maureen “Madukes” Yancey, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his two daughters, Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow.
The musical landscape has shifted mightily in the wake of J Dilla’s final album. Donuts’ release and Dilla’s subsequent death forced a critical and fan-level reexamination of his work and importance on the global stage. J Dilla was marginalized in the years leading up to his death, as he, battling the rare blood disorder that would eventually take his life, eschewed the major label-led music industry where he created or aided some of the music industry’s brightest – D’angelo, Erykah Badu, Common – in the late 90s and early 00s, moved to California from his native Detroit and dug deep into the deepest recesses of his creative spirit to offer a new take on hip hop’s decades old art form of sampling. After Donuts, the likes of Kanye West and Pharrel Williams could be heard echoing words read on a fan’s shirt from one of J Dilla’s last European tours in 2005: J Dilla Changed My Life. They were not the only ones: Justin Timberlake opines openly that the world needs more Dilla. J Dilla became a critical signpost for these stars, and others: the archetype figure that birthed everything they loved and cared for in hip-hop.
From February 5th to 7th, J Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey will be presenting the second annual J Dilla Weekend festival in Miami, FL, celebrating the life and legacy of the legendary artist. In anticipation of the event, J Rocc – who also brought us the “Thank You Jay Dee” series – but together this brilliant mix of the late, great producer’s work.
Last year we premiered Magnif’s “The Shining Pt.2”, the first of a two track single featuring unreleased J Dilla production. We now present the follow-up, “The Last.” Instrumentals will be available on 7-inch vinyl only, via Ghost City Records, available at Fat Beats. Digital tracks are available on iTunes. Original illustrations are from Detroit artist, Michelle Tanguay.
By Cortney Wills for Billboard, June 28, 2015
Los Angeles – Day three of BET Experience brought some serious hip-hop heads to L.A. Live’s Club Nokia on Saturday night (June 27). Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of The Roots were joined by Erykah Badu and a grab bag of other artists to pay homage to their fallen friend James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J Dilla.
The three-hour concert roared into the early morning hours and was full of surprise guests — including Lauryn Hill and Busta Rhymes — who were immeasurably influenced by the late producer’s music. Some offered stories about how they met the Detroit-native who died of a blood disease in 2006 and others just belted out the hits he helped them create.
Badu arrived on the stage with the help of a motorized skateboard that she stayed on for 20 minutes while she seduced the packed house with “Window Seat,” “On and On” and “Love Of My Life,” before bringing out the night’s first guest, Busta Rhymes.
The rapper battled a troublesome microphone during his performance of his 1997 hit “Put You Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Woo Hah!” and eventually ditched it before delivering a heartfelt monologue about Dilla. “Jump” and “Pass the Courvoisier” brought the whole crowd to their feet before Busta made his swift exit.
Next up was The Pharcyde, the Cali-bred group that Dilla used to DJ for, who served up “Runnin” and “Passing Me By” before Slum Village shocked the crowd by showing up to share some hits.
Record store day 2015.
J Dilla’s classic, out of print for over a decade, has been remastered from Dilla’s original mixes and issued on Pay Jay Productions as a badge-shaped 9“ picture disc single. Both the vocal and instrumental come straight from mix-downs that Dilla himself created. This limited edition 9″ badge-shaped picture disc single comes in a thick, custom-made pocket fold-over, inserted into a Japanese-style, resealable clear plastic sleeve. Photos & the beat right here.
This is the third t-shirt collaboration between the iconic street wear brand Stussy and The Estate of James Yancey.
Tees are on sale and shipping now from Rappcats.com and Stussy. Stussy.com also has a limited supply of the J Dilla Figure.