J Dilla Dies of Lupus
Saturday, February 11, 2006
By: Michael Ivey
J DillaJames Yancey AKA J Dilla, heralded producer for A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Slum Village, died Friday of complications from lupus according to his manager Timothy Maynor. James Yanceyâ€™s mother found him dead in his room. He was 32.
Yancey had been on a dialysis machine for two years. The Detroit native was living in Los Angeles with his mother after being diagnosed with the immune system disease roughly three years ago. Yanceyâ€™s joints and kidneyâ€™s were weakened by lupus (which causes the immune system to attack healthy cells), but he remained upbeat says Maynor. â€œHe was optimistic about working on future projects and doing future shows,â€ he said. Yancey was bent on touring in Europe in December and Maynor told him, â€œâ€¦ I'm prepared to carry you, if I have to carry you down stairs and put you on stage.â€
As a producer J Dilla AKA Jay Dee worked on California rap group The Pharcyde's second album, Labcabincalifornia (1995), produced the bulk of A Tribe Called Questâ€™s 1998 LP The Love Movement and worked on various Common albums. According to Detroit emcee Phat Kat Dillaâ€™s rare mix of claps, drum machines and samples influenced many other producers. â€œThat's really where all the other cats are getting that style,â€ he said.
As an emcee J Dilla formed Detroit collective Slum Village in the late 90â€™s, helping spawn their debut, Fantastic Vol. 2. He then branched off to a solo career, collaborating with quirky California producer/emcee Madlib in 2003 for Champion Sound. The two rhymed over each otherâ€™s beats throughout the album. Dilla released the compilation Welcome to Detroit in 2001 and according to Phat Kat finished part two before he died. Dilla released an instrumental album called Donuts last month through Stones Throw Records.