observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dilla Dog

It is good to see so many bloggers paying homage to the unfortunate passing of Jay Dee. I think most like myself, felt compelled to write something probably realizing that we would be one of the few outlets that would recognize the significance of the brother.

I have gone from shock to sadness to celebration since my man James hit me with the news on Friday afternoon. I am not sure how many of you have had to deal with death in your life, but I find it better to celebrate life rather than mourn death. (Maybe I do that to keep from being overcome with grief.) So to begin the celebration on Friday night I begin compiling the illest Jay Dilla playlist on the good iTunes. Feeling that I was incomplete I went to Stones Throw and peeped the entire discography. Found the joints in my Library that I didn’t have and bought whatever else I could on iTunes (Donuts, some Common work I didn’t have, and Amplified).

After the second Bacardi and Diet Coke the celebration really kicked in.
I remembered the 1st time I heard Fantastic Vol.2. The arguments I got into about that album.
How I almost lost one of my oldest friends after fighting (almost physically) about the lyrical skills of The S.
I remembered when I was working on J-Live’s first album and called Jay Dee looking for a beat tape while he was on tour with Tribe.
I remembered when I first cracked the plastic on ‘Welcome to Detroit’ or ‘Champion Sound.’

I remember when I incurred the wrath of my boys from UVa when I declared ‘Fantastic Vol.2’ was the only classic album I could add to my list since Illmatic. (For the record, my top 7 are Vol.2, Nations of Millions, Criminal Minded, Paid in Full, Illmatic, 3 Feet High, and People’s Instinctive.)
Whether I am right or wrong is irrelevant. What is relevant as this brother sparked those feelings in me. For that I am grateful.

Outside of Rob One Poetic from the Gravediggaz this is the 1st non Hip-Hop mega star that I can recall who has passed. And Jay Dee was one of us. Backpacker, underground, purist, neo-Native Tongue, whatever label floats your boat. He came up in the same era I did. His group rose through the same ranks the brothers I worked with did. And he didn’t die from a drive by or an overdose. Nothing cinematic about Lupus. His ailments like his music were things that every brother and sister could relate too. That makes it all the more tragic. That was what made it hurt so much on Friday.

But I tell you, that brother had a gift that I wish I had.
I hope that his passing will draw some attention to his work and hopefully stimulate a mind or two.
And I am not trying to lionize Jay because as I listened to some of those songs over the weekend I became reminded about his uh… less than PC subject matter. He wasn’t perfect. Flawed like all of us. Materialistic, aggressive, insecure, all of that. But humble, dedicated, passionate, and driven as well.

We are working on putting together a celebration of his music real soon.
Hopefully the SC will see you soon and we can talk some shit over “Players”


Blogger Joey said...

>And Jay Dee was one of us.

I think that's what has been jarring about this. I am somewhat surprised by how sad I was to receive this news given that I did not know the man personally, but I think it hurts because Dilla was not only a brilliant talent, but also someone on whom a specific set of hip-hop heads could rely. His works embodied so much of what I loved about hip-hop, and given that rarity, it's sad to see someone like him pass. Well said, Wes.

February 13, 2006 7:24 PM

Anonymous jireh said...

i remember how much you believed in Dilla, the S, and all that sprang from their roots. if it hit me hard it must've hit you harder... believe it or not i'm actually still not convinced he's gone...

just doesn't seem right. but like you said, life comes and goes so appreciate the love you get. i will think of dilla everytime i hear that muted 808 or that signature snare...

well said. you're wise man Wes. good to see the family (7H and your own) is well.
peace -

February 13, 2006 11:58 PM

Blogger idiotproof67 said...

Well said man.
Nice thoughts laid down. Heartfelt & precise.
His body of work will just live on & on for years bringing back wonderful memories everytime. Can't ask for more than that. We'll all celebrate it infinitum.

February 16, 2006 3:11 AM


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