Tuesday, February 10, 2009

J Dilla - Greatest Producer

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Quincy Jones, Babyface, The Neptunes, Dr Dre, DJ Premier, Bryan Michael Cox, Tim & Bob are all up there amongst my favourite producers of all time but with the exception of Timbaland no other producer has made a big impression on me as much as J "Jay Dee" Dilla. JD's influence on the rise of Neo-Soul in mid 90's was defining and understated; he worked with the finest in Hip-Hop and traced the genre all the way to it's roots to bring out the heart and soul. He was your favourite producer's favourite producer, he was just that good.

Raging from Detroit the rapper/producer was responsible for the forming of underrated hip-hop group Slum Village and worked in a production supergroup called The Ummah with two members of A Tribe Called Quest and later on Raphael Saadiq. What I enjoyed most about his production was the simplicity of it. Not many can pull off a beat with simple patterns but make it speak a thousand words without an artist even singing/rapping over it. This was more or less the reason why so many conscious artists were able to work with him as the beat acted as a guide to their patterns of thought.

"Sometimes, fixation can be a good thing and sometimes it can be bad. There'd be days when I wouldn't eat at all, because I'd be in the basement working all day" - J Dilla

The list of classic productions is endless, I cant even go through all of them but check here for his discography. My playlist on the right hand side sports a large percentage of J.Dilla's work and no doubt I will add more in fture. Q-Tip, Slum Village, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Common, De la Soul and Pharcyde to name a few are some of the name's he worked with and it was only after his untimely death in 2006 on this day that people began to realise his influence in music. Sometimes I wish he was able to take himself more mainstream just for the world to understand how great a producer he was, then again his behind the secnes and underground status is what made him a special entity in the first place. I salute J Dilla as one of the, if not thee greatest producer of all time.

"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend"

2 comments so far....:

louise said...

He's a musical institution. Production wise. Never has and nor never will be topped. But Jazzy Jeff (HATE it when people judge him on the fresh prince tracks) Nujabes, Shin-ski & Pete rock come a close 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th.

Broadband said...

Those were some good call-outs for the other producers, I hear you on the dilla statement

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