Dearly departed producer and DJ J Dilla (aka Jay Dee; aka James Yancey) definitely garnered more respect posthumously than when he was punching out beats on his MPC for the likes of Slum Village, Madlib, Common, and other hip-hop luminaries. While those in the know considered him a living legend, his legacy certainly lives on well into the years following his untimely lupus-related death in 2006. In fact, it seems like every few months a new documentary pops up in the Detroit ambassador’s honor, and that’s to say nothing of the countless musical releases that have surfaced, including another one just announced today for Moodymann’s Mahogani label.
One such documentary that has just been released was put together by Fuse TV, for their Crate Diggers series, and it explores Dilla’s sprawling record collection with the likes of his mom (affectionately known to fans as Ma Dukes), Talib Kweli, and more of his friends. But it’s just a slice of many nice little tributes to one of hip-hop’s most important creators. Find it, and four other favorites, below.
Fuse: Crate Diggers
A fascinating look into Dilla’s record collection, and how he did his digging.
Stussy’s J Dilla Documentary
This doc, put together by clothiers Stussy, looks at Dilla’s early days of being discovered, and his subsequent partnerships with the likes of Stone Throw and Madlib.
Still Shining starts right after Dilla’s funeral in 2005. The usual suspects, like House Shoes, Karriem Riggins, Common, and Ma Dukes offer all sorts of insights into his character.
Stones Throw Dilla Interviews
There’s a fair number of these, but they’re pretty short, and all offer something interesting, such as, “Four fucking people—we smoked 46 blunts,” says DJ House Shoes of one of their sessions. The others feature Illa J, J Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, and more.
J Dilla Interview 2003
As you can see, most of the documentaries about Dilla feature others speaking on his accomplishments, so this very rare four-parter is quite a gem since it’s all stories from the horse’s mouth.