Kanye West Explains How J Dilla Influenced Yeezus (Video)
Back in 2005, during the launch of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, ‘Ye inked a deal with one of his influences, Common. During the making of Comm’s Be LP, two producers worked on the album: Kanye and J Dilla. The gold-certified, Grammy-nominated album would eventually feature two Jay Dee production, and would be a hallmark for G.O.O.D., Common, and also the year in Hip-Hop.
Within a year later, J Dilla would be dead, from complications from the Lupus virus. Although Kanye West would ascend to a multi-platinum superstar, he maintained his own strong connections to the sound Dilla introduced through vessels like Slum Village (whom ‘Ye had worked with), JayLib, and Frank-N-Dank. In the outtakes of Stones Throw Records documentary, Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, Kanye West speaks further about his affinity for Dilla’s sound, and even seemingly applies it to some creative decisions he made during 2013’s Yeezus:
“It’s amazing: How could we lose [The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, J Dilla], Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson? It almost feels like the Devil’s winning,” West tells cameras. “We gotta make music and think, ‘If Dilla was alive, would he like this?’ I have to work on behalf of Dilla. When I put a weird-ass Jamaican sample, it works at first but it’s not until I put the [makes discordant musical noise] that it sounds like art or sounds slightly wrong. And now it’ll go to the radio now that it’s wrong, motherfucker. Now play this. Play this five-minute song that completely fucks up your programming. The best respect that we can pay to great artists that have inspired us so much is to never sell out.”
Do you hear J Dilla’s influence in Kanye West’s music?
Fans of Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, Percee P, and Dam-Funk will have plenty more to enjoy in this 28-minute “B-Side” of footage and commentary.