Thank You Jay Dee…
As much as I love Jay Dee aka Dilla, it’s been hard to listen to his music for the past few years. It’s nothing to do with the quality as most of his creations are timeless. The fans that emerged post February 10th 2006 and the exploitation that followed ruined my enjoyment. That, plus the multiple 2Pac like posthumous releases that seem to come out of nowhere like distant relatives when you’ve won the Powerball for a few hundred million.
It annoyed the hell out of me. “J Dilla Changed My Life” T-Shirts seemed to be all the rage and everyone seemed to be a devout Dilla stan overnight. I’ve witnessed conversations where people have tried to one up each other on how big of a Dilla fan they were. “Oh I have Slum Village Volume 1 on cassette” and then someone would jump in, frothing at the mouth and say “I had that when it came out but I also have Limited Edition Vinyl with the live drums” and the verbal oneupmanship would commence. As Cameron Giles states ever so fervently on Diplomatic Immunity’s “Dipset Anthem”, “That shit’s disgusting!”
I almost fell into that lifestyle of being a fanatic but I had to “geek down”. I respect the man and his music. Most of all, I loved his raps. He talked that talk throughout the Ruff Draft project especially on tracks like “Crushin” (my personal anthem) and “The $”. Oronde, a friend of mine that passed away a few years ago used to tell me about the samples on that album and how much he loved “Reckless Driving”. Dilla was an around the way cat that many of us could connect to and I think that should be the focal point of his legacy.
Madlib said in an interview with Dazed and Confused magazine “I’m gonna burn down my studio before I die. Ain’t nobody exploiting my shit. Don’t think I’m gonna get exploited like they’re doing to Dilla” and if that doesn’t support my issue then I don’t know what else to tell you. I have enough Dilla in my iTunes to last quite a few fortnights but it’s been a while since I really dove into that treasure trove. I hesitate. It’s almost like the music has been tarnished and it may seem like I’m being extreme but I need to let it breathe. I may play a song or two today for nostalgia sake but that’s it.