Celebrate J. Dilla’s Birthday with a Look Back at an Extended Interview of Him (Video)
Happy birthday to J. Dilla, who would have turned 41 years old today. As the world continues to be blessed with a seemingly bottomless treasure trove of Dilla’s beats, posthumously, looks back at the the man, himself, are much more rare. So, to celebrate the life of one of Hip-Hop’s most iconic producers, here’s an extended conversation from 2003 with the man born James Yancey.
The four-part, thirty minute interview finds Dilla congenial, vibrant and extremely happy to give insight into his career to that point. In part 1, he discusses reuniting with Slum Village, working with Madlib, the new direction of his sound and how sample clearance problems shaped it, and more.
During part 2, Dilla talks about the copious beat CDs he used to create (which may explain why his posthumous catalog has seemed so boundless), the difficulty of getting respect as an MC because he was also a producer, and whether he would make a beat for a wack MC just for the money.
Dilla expounds on losing the original beat to Q-Tip’s “Breathe and Stop,” in part 3 of the interview. He discusses how he had to completely re-create the track and laments that people did not get to hear the original version, which he believed was much better. He also touches on working with A Tribe Called Quest and how that prepared him for Slum Village.
In the final portion of the interview, Dilla talks about the genesis of The Soulquarians, the collective of him, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Common, D’Angelo, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, James Poyser, Pino Palladino, Q-Tip and Questlove. Check out the video.