10 Hip-Hop Icons That Will Make You Remember J Dilla Forever
Almost a decade has passed since James Dewitt Yancey, better known by the stage name J Dilla, dropped the universally acclaimed album Donuts, released only days before his death. In honor of his life and impact on hip-hop music, Brooklyn Bowl will host the annual Donuts are Forever 10 featuring Run P., Daru Jones, The Ruff Pack, Illa J, and many more on Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14. To celebrate his life and the upcoming DAF10, we give you ten of the biggest names in hip-hop who took a page out of J Dilla’s book.
1. Erykah Badu
When it came time to write for her series of album’s titled New Amerykah, Badu chose to honor Dilla on multiple songs including “The Healer,” “My People,””Telephone,” and “Love,” a song posthumously produced by J Dilla.
2. The Roots
Referred to as “hip-hop’s first legitimate band” it’s only natural for The Roots to be impacted by J Dilla’s legacy. On their 2007 album Game Theory, the track “Can’t Stop This” incorporates J Dilla’s song “Time: The Donut of the Heart” as the beat with Black Thought rapping about his influence. The song closes with a number of voice messages discussing J Dilla and his significant impact on the hiphop community.
As a close friend of Dilla’s, Common revered the producer and believes that music would be different today if JD were still alive. His 2007 album Finding Forever is entirely dedicated to J Dilla.
4. Big Sean
As a fellow artist from Detroit, Big Sean paid homage to J Dilla on the sixth anniversary of his death by free-styling over “Two Can Win”, off of Donuts.
5. Chance The Rapper
Met with high praises from music critics and certified “diamond” for garnering over 1,000,000 downloads, Chance The Rapper’s mixtape Acid Rap features the song “Everybody’s Something” which samples Slum Village’s (a hip-hop group formed by Baatin,T3, and J Dilla) “Fall in Love”.
6. Busta Rhymes
J Dilla and Busta Rhymes collaborated on many different albums. From Busta’s 1996 debut album, The Coming, to his 2006 LP, The Big Bang, no album was complete without a couple songs produced by Dilla. Rhymes highlights “Show Me What You Got” as one of his favorite Dilla beats to rap on.
7. Rick Ross
Like many artists, Rick Ross has always dreamed of collaborating with Dilla. A line in his track “Walkin’ on Air”, serves as a reminder of what hip-hop lost: “All I ever wanted was to make scrilla, Have a recording session with J Dilla.”
Nas is often named as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of our generation. On his one-off release, The Season, he rapped over the track “Gobstopper” which originally appears on Donuts.
9. J. Cole
On J. Cole’s “Knock Knock” from his popular mixtape The Warm-Up, the song opens with the line: “Sometimes play the villain, sometimes play the hero. Sometimes I be Dilla, sometimes I be Preemo.”
10. Joey Bada$$
Even hip-hop’s youngest stars recognize the magnitude of Dilla’s talent. Joey Bada$$ has used some of Dilla’s beats on a few of his works like “Snakes,” “Two Lips,” and “Like Me” on his 2015 album, B4.Da.$$. In ”Christ Conscious,” Bada$$ made sure to make a shout out to the acclaimed producer, ”Specially medicated, Heavily Medicated / Give me that beat and I’ll put you next to Dilla.”
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