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It's J Dilla Day: Paying Homage to the Iconic Detroit Producer
It's Dilla Day, the birthday of the legendary hip-hop producer and music icon who left a lasting impression on so many influential rap personalities: from Q-Tip,D'Angelo and Little Brother to new Detroit upstarts like Boldy James. Today would have been his 50th birthday, and we're looking back at the different ways he has influenced Okayplayer's universe — from De La Soul lauding him as the originator of the modern beat tape to us curating our top Dilla tracks of all time.
De La Soul On How J Dilla Invented the Modern Beat Tape
Okayplayer was in conversation with Pos and Maseo about J Dilla's beginnings in the game and the role they played in the fateful introduction between the talented Dilla and Q-Tip.
J Dilla wasn't just your favorite producer's favorite producer, he was also your favorite rapper's favorite producer. As Busta Rhymes once said, "His ability to EQ and hear the music a certain way — you didn't really have too much to do but rhyme on the shit." The Okayplayer editorial team took up the task of curating our favorite Dilla beats of all time.
By 2001, J Dilla was arguably at the height of his power and influence as a producer. Already considered the spiritual and sonic center of The Soulquarians,The Ummah, and a contentiously-named sub-sector of R&B, J Dilla was firmly, albeit reluctantly, the pillar of a movement in Black music striving to simultaneously expand its foundations and the scope of its trajectory. In addition to his production genius, Okayplayer wrote a piece about how Dilla also excelled on the mic too,