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.
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 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.
Fuse goes on location in Detroit to celebrate the life and music of J Dilla
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.
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
As promised a small trove of unreleased J Dilla donut holes have been compiled into a compilation called Lost Scrolls, Vol. 1. The disc contains 4 tracks including the Yancey Boys “The Throwaway” and this track “Dewitt To Do It,” which features Jay touching the mic as well as the knobs of the magic donut-maker. Listen below and order via Fat Beats and iTunes
Another previously-unmentioned Dilla release will be announced in coming days, and Stussy’s Dilla World Tour tee will be released on February 8
The city of Montpellier, France, dedicated a small street to J Dilla – preferring the old school name Jay Dee. The city dedicated nearby streets to Alliyah, Amy Winehouse, Ray Charles and others. Thanks to Onra for the photo.
Years ago J Dilla moved a large collection of records, personal test presses and audio master tapes into a storage until after his Detroit basement studio flooded. Shortly thereafter he moved to Los Angeles.
The storage unit was left by Dilla and taken care of by his mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, but attention and priorities soon shifted: Dilla became seriously ill and hospitalized, and with his mother at his side in Los Angeles during a planned two-week visited that turned into years, the unit was lost.
In Spring of 2012, the entire collection was finally recovered. The back payments and fees were paid – Ma Dukes was reunited with the contents she last saw just before leaving to L.A. to take care of Dilla.
Maureen Yancey is now selling a portion of the record collection in the first of a series of weekly sales taking place on eBay.
Buyers receive an LP from the collection of J Dilla, with a signed, numbered certificate from Maureen Yancey stating that the record is from this personal collection.
The certificates are numbered with the plan of an online registry for Dilla fans to list their Dilla Collection LP. Buyers are welcomes to include the artist, title, and whether any tracks on the LP are known to have been sampled by Dilla. This registry is dependent on the sales of the limited amount of the collection and response from the fans.