Joe Meek. Brian Wilson. George Martin. Brian Eno. All legendary producers, weaving magic and ‘um, how the hell did he do that?‘ melody out of notoriously claustrophobic recording studios. Another untouchable? A pioneer by the name of J Dilla, who single handedly changed the sound of modern day hip hop without ever really realising.
James Yancey began producing in his family basement, creating fuzzed-up cassette experiments with MCs and local rap scenesters. In a couple of years he’d graduated to the big league, making beats for artists like Erykah Badu, The Pharcyde and Janet Jackson. Crazy laid back, off-grid rhythms, chopped up soul samples and bloopy electronica have since been adopted by an entire generation of producers, who pore over his amazing ‘Donuts’ mixtapes and back catalogue to explore every flash of genius Dilla had. And bloody hell, there were a lot. His productions were warm, groove-filled and physical – the most soulful and euphoric that rap’s ever got.
Yancey died in 2006 at just 32, and every February across the world there’s Dilla tribute events to celebrate his life and legacy. One hits the Shipping Forecast on the 3rd, put together by MADNICE Marauders and featuring veteran hip hop DJ Chris Read, Sert One & Bolts and Kwinzola from local gang No Fakin’ Crew.
All profits go to the J Dilla Foundation, which funds inner-city music programs and all sorts of great stuff for kids. Party and pay your respects to one of the greatest.
MADNICE Marauders presents… DILLA
The Shipping Forecast, Slater St, Liverpool