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Common Remembers J Dilla

This week hip-hop remembers the life of producer J Dilla who passed away three days after his 32nd birthday on Feb. 10, 2006. Rapper Common, one of Dilla’s longtime friends and collaborators, reflected on the impact his productions style had on music as a whole.

For one, J Dilla is responsible for the backbeats on Common’s breakout hit ‘The Light,’ off 2000’s ‘Like Water for Chocolate Album.’ “J Dilla was somebody I had never seen take music and do what he did to it,” he told The BoomBox. “He made sounds that would be anything from the rawest of hip-hop to something like sounds flowing against Radiohead, and he would play some of the instruments.”

“I never seen a producer sit there and have so much revere for music and so much respect for it. I’ve seen everybody from Pharrell to Kanye, to Questlove … and I’m like, ‘Man, that’s my favorite producer.’ I think music would be in a different place if he was here. He provided so much inspiration.”

Dilla, born James Dewitt Yancey, died of lupus. As previously reported his family, who has been in a longstanding battle over his estate, launched the J Dilla Foundation and accompanying website last month and will remain financial beneficiaries of future ventures carrying his name. Aside form his work behind the scenes, the Detroit native was a member of the group Slum Village. Making waves as one of hip-hop’s most influential producers, his credits include work with De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, and A Tribe Called Quest.

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