J Dilla : The Ghost of Future Past

It has been five years since the passing of the often lauded Detroit hip hop producer Jay Dee / J Dilla of Detroit. In the past, I have ripped the bandwagon coverage while indirectly dissing Dilla- utter blasphemy in most circles.  But I don't know if I can stand by such sentiments anymore.

Maybe I am just less angry these days. And perhaps in B. Kyle's documentary showing Dilla's mother, brother, friends and fellow artists gushing with such sincerity for the man is irrefutable testimony. Here is ample evidence of Jay's other-worldliness and humility in character, ingenuity and delight in his music. I still can't reconcile the casual misogyny that found its way into his music but I also cannot deny the sublime and understated quality of his best work. Are we not judged by the motives of the sum of our efforts? Ultimately, Jay Dee seemed to simply have a yearning love to create futuristic hip hop funk soul that no one prior or currently has matched.

It is DJ Dummy's thoughts that most accurately assess why J Dilla's continual recognition is not measured in album sales but in the praises of the cognoscenti: "Jay Dee makes classics.  He doesn't make songs for right now.  Every day he made [songs], we will be singing them forever."

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