More J Dilla Music Slated for Later This Year

Photo courtesy of Yancey Media Group

J Dilla’s posthumous legacy will enter a fruitful period over the next few weeks with the release of the Dillatroit and Rebirth of Detroit projects — both of which have been overseen by Maureen Yancey, J Dilla’s mom, and verified by her as official additions to the late producer’s body of work. Hive checked in with Ms. Yancey and Jonathan Taylor, the chief executive of the Yancey Media Group, to talk about Dilla’s early house music productions, his love of the Black Byrds’ “Rock Creek Park,” and the exact extent of Dilla’s unreleased music vault.

What inspired the new J Dilla projects Dillatroit and Rebrith of Detroit?

Jonathan Taylor: Detroit is going through a major change here and a lot of artists have left the city and have not worked with each other for a lot of years. So we need to find some people to help [make] a change in the city, and J Dilla being the greatest producer in history and being from Detroit, and with his mother having a responsibility for his music, I made a proposal to his mom: I told her we could use his music to help bring about a rebirth of the city and galvanize the city on an organic level. Dilla’s one of the only people that no matter what you feel about life, Dilla’s music encompasses all.

Maureen Yancey: Dilla was a very compassionate person and was inspired to have people educate themselves. People love Dilla, and it’s a shame to see people not come together. But music is the universal language — it’s the one thing that could cut across the board. So we want this to be something positive for the people of Detroit.

JT: Also, Ms. Yancey is a third generation Detroiter, and not many people can say that. She and Dilla grew up in Conant Gardens, and I grew up in Conant Gardens too. So not many people in Detroit could make this happen.

MY: I also felt that the city didn’t recognize Dilla. It’s always struck me that I can travel globally and people recognize and adore his music and his talent, but when I come back to Detroit, nobody knows or supports or knows that not only did he do hip-hop but he also did jazz and house music. He did house music and DJed that as a very young teenager. I think it’s a shame that people don’t know in their home town.

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