Very few hip-hop artists have had such a big influence on popular music in the last 20 years as J Dilla. The humble and discreet beatmaker from Detroit has been acclaimed way beyond the boundaries of his favoured musical style and has contributed to help ghetto music gain credibility. This month, like many great musicians of all genres and many media around the world we pay tribute to the “Mozart of hip-hop” (as British newspaper “the Guardian” hailed him) as February marks the 6th anniversary of his death.
Born in 1974 near Detroit, J Dilla had studied Cello but his favourite instruments when it came to compose quickly turned out to be an MPC, a Micro Korg synthesizer and a Rhodes keyboard. He greatly contributed to the albums of A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Pharcyde, Busta Rhymes, Common, Dwele, Madlib... by instilling his very unique heavy hip-hop sound dressed with jazz-funk and afro-futuristic flavours. He was also a founding member of the Soulquarians collective alongside the Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Black Star and Bilal to name a few. The anniversary of his death gives us the opportunity to look into his discography and pay tribute to one of the Greats of urban music, an indubitable architect of the Groovalizacion sound made in USA.