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.

ON SALE: J DILLA – DIAMONDS & ICE 12-inch EP

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.

Trucks

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.

Dilla World Tour

j-dilla.com February 6, 2013

To celebrate Dilla Month 2013, Stussy partnered with the J Dilla Estate to create the J Dilla World Tour Tee. It will be released on Friday, February 8th, 2013 at Rappcats.com | Stussy.com and Stussy Chapter Stores, the limited edition design references the classic albums from the legendary producer and MC.

Stream “Dewitt To Do It” from J Dilla Lost Scrolls Vol. 1 EP