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  • The words I could never say enough, Thank you Jay Dee

    Fev 11 2008, 11h06

    I'd been wanting to write this, but I didn't know quite exactly what to say. Words can only express so much when speaking on something so close to your heart. They stop at borders which emotions surpass effortlessly. The legacy Dilla left behind knows no boundaries.

    Two years and a day have passed since that fateful day. Our parents remember where they were when JFK was assassinated, I will never forget where I was the moment I found out Dilla had passed. Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes, so fresh in my mind, it feels like only yesterday.

    Last year I think we ("we" being everyone who loved this man and his art) were still lost in our sadness, only a year after his passing. This can be reflected in so many things, most prominently in my mind is Jroccs, "Thank you Jay Dee" podcasts. Listen to the first one he made right after his passing, it echos the hurt we were all feeling through J Dilla's own words...his beats. Then came, "Thank you Jay Dee Act 2" a year later, we were starting to heal. And now, we have Jroccs final mix in the series, "Thank you Jay Dee Act 3", we are finally ready to celebrate the small time we had him with us, breathe all the life that his music brought to us and will continue to bring.

    For me words are meager next to how much you can say through a beat. The human language is handicapped against the vast vocabulary of the heart and soul. You can look up the meaning of a word in the dictionary but just try to look up the meaning of "One Eleven", "Can't you see" or even "Eve". There is none. Not only because I can't put the feelings these songs bring me into words but simply because even if I could, it may mean something entirely different for you... and therein lies the beauty of it all. If music can plow down words limitations, J Dilla's music transcends to places that my words could never dream of reaching.

    But, I urge you to take it even deeper then that.

    Sometimes it takes realizing where the end product began, to fully appreciate the final result. Listen to the song originally sampled for, "Waves", "Lightworks", "The Official"...basically any Dilla beat and you'll realize just how immense this man's genius and creativity were. Anyone can throw some snares, a high hat and some bass on top of a loop, but Dilla took it far beyond that. He performed what can almost only be described as magic on these samples. Once again my words fail me... however your ears won't lead you astray.

    I've seen Dilla's little brother and his mother around, yet I can't bring myself to say one word to them. If I tried to express my gratitude for Dilla's gifts, I would be a tongue-tied, blubbering mess. Dilla's music has given me a way to express myself when words fall short. My love for him has in turn brought so many amazing people into my life and also for allowing me to help save other's from the disease the took him from us. He's given me a common thread that connects me to people who don't even speak my own language, because the love of Dilla is so profound and universal.

    Thank you Jay Dee, I could never say that enough... thank you.

    J DillaJay DeeJ Dilla aka Jay Dee
  • J Dilla, looking back a year later...

    Fev 9 2007, 1h39

    Interview after interview, article after article, we've all read about Dilla's accomplishments, his talent, his genius. No one in their right mind would even dare dispute that he was, is and will be one of the greatest (in my opinion, the greatest) producers of all-time. So instead I'll take a page from grade school and simply write, "What J Dilla means to me…"

    I was a hip hop novice, somewhere below a gumshoe, I could've fit what I knew about "real" hip hop in a thimble. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the best hip hop, though I didn't realize it at the time. But slowly I started to fall in love, but it wasn't to an emcee's raw lyrics, it was the beats.

    Time and time again I'd say, "This beat is amazing!" and the same name kept coming up, J Dilla. I would have no clue what I was listening to and I'd hear a beat, exclaim my love for it and guess who it'd be…Dilla. Listening to Copywrite, what song was my favorite? "That's a wrap", I still don't know the words to half that song even though I've heard it tons of times, I always get lost in that beat.

    Dilla isn't the only person that can create an amazing beat, but only Dilla could make a Dilla beat, it's like they're in a class all their own. You could give someone his drum kits, the same exact equipment, hell, put them in the same studio and they still couldn't make a Dilla beat. Genius like that cannot be replicated because I believe every beat, every lyric, was a little part of him, a little piece of his soul/mind laid out on the line to our listening pleasure.

    It can't really write exactly how his music affects me or makes me feel, but emotions are always the hardest things to describe. If I'm happy, sad, whatever, there is always a song or beat to compliment or express my mood.

    There was a night recently when some revelations about my mothers current state of health came to light, I couldn't say anything or do anything I felt paralyzed by fear and every other emotion that decided to rear it's head. I put on Donuts, because in my mind I think that cd represents some of the most important aspects of being: life, death and love. (Plus it always helps me think.) When "Last donut of the night" played, I put it on repeat. By the time I took it off repeat itunes showed that I had listened to it and additional 43 times… the things that I couldn't put into words, the beat was saying for me.

    I hear his music, and I still can't believe that he's not here anymore, it's surreal. But, as I've said before, I don't believe life is linear, beginning, middle and end. Life instead is a cycle, and the proof is alive and well. J Dilla not only lives on through his music but through every single person he inspired and touched. The musicians will draw inspiration and create on their own path, the fans will share his music with others and the cycle will continue bringing new life, that doesn't sound like an end to me in any regard.

    February will probably always be known as "Dilla month". Today on what would've been his 33rd birthday I wanted to pick a really meaningful song for my page. It's hard, because there is so many to choose from but, I settled on "The Official"

    I choose this one because a year ago, after he had passed away I went to a tribute at The Knit. Even though JMP (where it was held) was always relatively empty normally, that night it was jam packed, of course. They'd play the "anthems" (Running, Fuck the Police, Fall in Love) and the crowd would go wild. But, I will never forget the wave of energy that burst from that crowd when they heard the opening of, "The Official", I could imagine that's sort of what a sonic boom would feel like, it was breathtaking and even writing this it still gives me chills.

    He touched his fans so deeply, I can't even imagine how the people that knew him felt when they lost him, I cannot even begin to fathom it. I really hope that they take comfort in the fact that a lot of people understood and realized that he was something amazing and that there will never be another even close to James Yancey.
    J DillaJay Dee