Dilla Turn It Up T-shirt by Stussy

j-dilla.com February 9, 2014

On sale now at Stussy & Rappcats

When J Dilla lived and worked in Los Angeles, he was right around the corner from the Stussy office, and it was photograph of him working at home on his MPC wearing a Stussy T-shirt which kicked off this long running collaboration between Stussy and J Dilla’s Pay Jay Productions.

Stussy and Pay Jay have teamed up for this third commemorative J Dilla t-shirt in celebration of “Dilla Day 2014″ on February 7th, presented by Stussy & Rappcats.com. This tee is constructed of 100% soft cotton & made in Mexico. A crew neck t-shirt, which features an 2005 image of J Dilla (photo by Roger Erickson) along with Stussy graphics.

Pay Jay Productions is run by The Estate of James Yancey 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.

Tributes 2014

j-dilla.com January 24, 2014

February marks both J Dilla’s birthday (February 7, 1974) and the anniversary of his passing (February 10, 2006), as well as the release date of his opus Donuts in 2006. Ever since February 2007 there have been loving tributes held for J Dilla around the world. Here are a few in 2014.

J Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey and brother John “Illa Jay” Yancey will be at the events in Manchester UK, Bristol UK, and London. J Rocc will be spinning at the Los Angeles event. Slum Village will perform at the Miami event.

January 30: Manchester UK at The Roadhouse, with Illa J and Ma Dukes, 8 Newton Street, M1 2AN TICKETS

January 25: Paris at Le Bellevilloise, 19-21 rue Boyer, 75020

February 1: Albany NY at The Hollow Bar, 79 North Pearl St INFO

February 1: Los Angeles at Boombox with J Rocc & Frank Nitt, Grand Star Jazz Club, 943 N.Broadway, 90012

February 1: Bristol, UK at Exchange with Illa J and Ma Dukes, 72-73 Old Market, BS2 0EJ TICKETS

February 2: London at Scala with Illa J and Ma Dukes, 275 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross, N1 9NL TICKETS

February 7: Detroit – DILLA DAY DETROIT at Fillmore; 2115 Woodward Ave, 48201 TICKETS

February 7: Sydney, Australia at The Basement, 29 Reiby Place TICKETS

February 9: Detroit – DILLA YOUTH DAY at 5E Gallery, 4605 Cass Avenue, 48201 INFO

February 13: Miami at Bardot with Slum Village, 3456 N Miami Ave, 33186 TICKETS

February 15: Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave INFO

February 23: Washington DC at U Street Music Hall; 1115 U St NW, 20009 TICKETS

Joey Badass “Two Lips” over vintage Jay Dee

j-dilla.com November 27, 2013

“You could die in a second,” Joey Bada$$ coolly observes on “Two Lips,” a track that features a previously unused beat by J Dilla. Bada$$’s lyrical meditation on mortality matches up with a dusty drum sample and a dreamy backdrop from Dilla that evokes Stevie Wonder’s late Seventies classics.

The song comes from a seven-inch being released in conjunction with Dilla’s mother and Akomplice clothing to benefit the J Dilla Foundation, an organization that provides musical instruments and music lessons to underprivileged children. The B side of the single has J Dilla’s original instrumental track for the song. “Working on this project alongside Akomplice and the J Dilla Foundation was a great success,” Bada$$ tells Rolling Stone. “I thank both parties for allowing me to be a part of it and allowing me to use unreleased beats by my favorite producer of all time. It’s a brighter day.”

- by John Gentile for Rolling Stone

Dilla’s Delights, the Detroit donut shop

j-dilla.com August 28, 2013

Written by Andrew Graham for Detroit News, published August 27, 2013.

Late Detroit hip-hop producer J Dilla was always into doughnuts, so much so that he named his final album Donuts before his death in 2006.

Now his name will adorn Dilla’s Delights, a new coffee and doughnut shop that will open in Harmonie Park this fall.

Dilla’s uncle Herman Hayes, 58, is setting up shop in an 800-square-foot space at 242 John R. St., on the ground floor of the Ashley (formerly the Milner Hotel) where Dilla lived briefly as a toddler. Hayes is a former baker at Avalon Bakery and plans to use all organic ingredients at Dilla’s Delights, which he’s looking to open in October or November.

Hayes used to bring Dilla doughnuts as a child, and says he’s one of the reasons Dilla got hooked on the treats. Now he sees making doughnuts in Dilla’s name as a way to honor and preserve his nephew’s memory.

The menu at Dilla’s Delights — which will be open Mondays through Saturdays and during select Detroit Lions home games — will include about 20 different doughnuts whose names will pay tribute to Dilla, the influential and multi-faceted producer who died from complications from Lupus at age 32.

The Conant Gardens Glaze is a nod to the neighborhood where Dilla was raised; Fantastic Fritters honor Fantastic, the album Dilla put out with Detroit hip-hop troupe Slum Village; McNasty Macaroons tip a hat to “McNasty Filth,” a track Dilla did with his side project Jaylib. Other items will honor the neighborhood and the former tenants of the store’s space, which is across from the Detroit Opera House and across Madison Street from Comerica Park.

Donuts, coffee, tea and juices will be on the menu, and Hayes says he plans to have vinyl spinning in the store, both the music of Dilla and the works he sampled in his productions.

Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, has headed up most of the projects involving her son since his death, and she is supporting her brother in this venture. She says she always remembers Dilla carrying a box of Dutch Girl Donuts, and he had a special affinity for glazed doughnuts.

“I want to honor my nephew in the right way, and this is a good way to do it,” Hayes says. “Not by putting out another album, but putting a sustainable business with his name on it that I plan on being in Detroit long after I’m gone. It’s just what I can give back to him for giving us that music.”

J Dilla – Diamonds & Ice

j-dilla.com August 2, 2013

In Spring 2013, the Estate of James Yancey revived J Dilla’s Pay Jay Productions as a functioning imprint and announced its release of Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary, with the first Pay Jay single “Anthem.”

“Diamonds & Ice” is the second single, a 7-track 12-inch EP slated for August 27th.


This EP contains what might be the two best known tracks from The Diary – one leaked years ago in the form of a low-bit MP3, and another as a short-lived promotional single. These versions – both final and alternate mixes – come straight from mixed-down masters that Dilla himself created.

Long before his posthumous album The Shining (2006), J Dilla titled these two tracks “The Shining Pt. 1″ and “The Shining Pt. 2.” “Diamonds (The Shining Pt. 1)” was produced Nottz, and “Ice (The Shining Pt. 2)” was produced by Madlib, who Dilla would later collaborate with under the group name Jaylib. The Diamonds & Ice EP contains two markedly different versions of “Ice,” with one showing the musical direction Dilla would embark on after The Diary was shelved in 2002.

Rounding out this EP is a Madlib instrumental that J Dilla secured for the album but never turned into the final song, titled “The D.” We’ve included this beat as a hint of what could have been.

The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California 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.

Yancey Boys “The Fisherman”

j-dilla.com August 2, 2013

The latest Yancey Boys track over vintage Jay Dee beats. Shouts @illaj @franknitt

J Dilla’s “Lost Scrolls” on Snap Judgment

j-dilla.com July 15, 2013

The back story on J Dilla’s lost record collection, from NPR’s Snap Judgement.

“When record store owner Jeff Bubeck buys an old record collection out of an abandoned storage unit, he has no idea what he’s stumbled across. Jeff learns the collection once belonged to the late great J. Dilla, one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time. Along with the thousands of LP’s from Dilla’s personal collection, there is something else that is uncovered, something huge.”

Producer Pat Mesiti-Miller talks with Jeff Bubeck and J Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey.

The Lost Scrolls EP was released February 2013
The Anthem EP was released April 2013 along with the announcement of J Dilla’s long-lost album The Diary in 2014.

This piece also contains music from J Dilla’s Donuts (Stones Throw, 2006) and Common’s “Heat” produced by J Dilla.

Photo © Raph Rashid, from the book Behind the Beat.


j-dilla.com April 17, 2013

J Dilla recorded “Trucks” in December 2001-February 2002 at Studio A, Detroit, MI. Mixed and mastered for the first time in 2013, by Dave Cooley. Released now on THE ANTHEM 12-inch, from the forthcoming album THE DIARY.

Video: Dilla Day Detroit

j-dilla.com February 21, 2013

Fuse goes on location in Detroit to celebrate the life and music of J Dilla

J Dilla vocal album The Diary planned for release on Pay Jay

j-dilla.com February 11, 2013

LINK: 12-inch single “Anthem” announced for pre-sale.

PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt “J Dilla” Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. But it was also a symbolic move: PayJay was a sign that the maverick producer then known as Jay Dee would see his individual goals in music industry realized, and he would get paid in the process.

The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and is announcing its release of J Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary. The first single “Anthem” b/w “Trucks” is now available as a pre-sale at rappcats.com and will be released on vinyl early this spring. Both “Anthem” and “Trucks” were produced, and feature complete vocal performances, by Dilla. The tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. These songs have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla’s original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla’s vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present.

The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California 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 Diary is an album of vocal performances recorded between in the early 2000s over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. PayJay recently issued the “Dilla World Tour” tee shirt in conjunction with clothing brand Stussy, and a collaborative figure is set to be released in 2013.