Ten years ago today, producer James Yancey aka J Dilla passed away unexpectedly. For hip-hop producers the world came to a standstill. No one saw it coming. That week, Dilla had celebrated his 32nd birthday and released his magnum opus, Donuts, to universal acclaim. Just as his life inspired so much great hip-hop, rap and neo-soul music, Dilla’s death inspired artists everywhere to honor his impact with an outpouring of dedications, imitations, and everything in between. For fans, the mourning period seemed to go on without pause, a processional wake that would last an era. Ten years later, the ripples are still being felt, from the worlds of hip-hop to jazz to electronic music.
The day Dilla passed, Steve Ellison aka Flying Lotus spun a special live mix for dublab including hip-hop, rare grooves (some of which were sampled by Dilla and Madlib), exotic international records, and a few of Dilla’s own tracks. A fitting tribute to a producer who was able to include, in the words of Flying Lotus, so many voices on one record.
FROM THE VAULTS is an ongoing curation project resurfacing great rare live performances and DJ sets recorded during dublab’s first ten years.