Today, February 7th, 2016 would have been J Dilla’s 42nd birthday. Furthermore, it was 10 years ago that he released on the Stones Throw label, what would now become a staple/opus/farewell masterpiece “Donuts”.
By now he is regarded as one of the most influential hip hop beat makers/producers of our time. You can read quotes by almost any important hip hop musician and he will surely be in the conversation as an influence. In some other circles and conversations you can surely mention him in the same breath as Miles Davis or even Prince as far as how big of an innovator he was in both the culture and what is now expected in hip hop beats. He helped shaped what became known as the “neo-soul” movement (Erykah Badu, D/Angelo, ?uestlove, etc), and almost as quickly moved away from it to create something new. He never was one to overstay his welcome with anything that he was doing, It felt more like he was just always looking to create something new.
Now, that this album was released just a few days prior to his passing makes it even more memorable, or maybe even sadder. Now we don’t get to find out what could have he created next. We do get to see all the influence that he left behind with all of those artists that he continues to influence, the label Brainfeeder comes to mind almost immediately.
Happy Birthday Dilla.