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Join us as we celebrate the life and music of one the most important producer/musician of our generation.
James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan. According to his obituary at NPR.org, he "was one of the music industry's most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Common."
Yancey's career began slowly. He has now become highly regarded, most notably for the production of critically acclaimed albums by Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, and Erykah Badu. He was a member of Slum Village and produced their acclaimed debut album Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1) and their follow-up Fantastic, Vol. 2.
In the early 2000s, Yancey's career as a solo artist began to improve; A solo album Welcome 2 Detroit was followed by a collaborative album with California producer Madlib, Champion Sound, which catalyzed the careers of both artists. Just as his music was becoming increasingly popular, Yancey died in 2006 of the blood disease TTP.
Following J Dilla's death, the hip hop community became centered upon his music and image. Many of the artists with whom Yancey worked performed or recorded tributes, and a large group of followers voiced their support for the late musician. Yancey's music experienced a rebirth as the producer gained many times more listeners than he had during his life, partly due to media exposure. Though several posthumous albums have been released and others are planned, the massive amounts of unreleased recordings by the producer remain somewhat undetermined. Yancey's estate has also been controverted.