Friday, February 10, 2006

R.I.P. Jay Dee

Hip-hop producer/rapper Jay Dee, who worked with artists such as Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, and Common, died Friday morning at the age of 32. A cause of death is not yet known although Jay, whose real name was James Yancey, had been battling kidney problems in recent years.

Although Jay Dee was not as well known as some of his peers, he was an innovative and very influential producer. He was a member of The Ummah, A Tribe Called Quest's production team and a founding member of the hip-hop group Slum Village. His use of soul samples greatly influenced the sounds of other producers such as Just Blaze and Kanye West. Some of his most recent high-profile work included producing the tracks "Love Is" and "It's Your World (Parts 1 &2)" on Common's 2005 album Be.

Jay Dee was also incredibly prolific, although mostly in underground channels. His album Welcome 2 Detroit was the first in BBE's Beat Generation series. He released several instrumental mixtapes (or "beat tapes") and even collaborated with producer Madlib on an album in 2003. Jay rapped under the moniker "J Dilla" and had just released an album entitled Donuts on Tuesday. He also had two other albums he was prepping for release in 2006 before his death.

Jay Dee did not conform to the typical hip-hop stereotypes and instead simply had a passion for the music. While he did not reach the same sort of fame as other great hip-hop producers, Jay Dee's innovative style and immense talent will be sorely missed.

1 comment:

  1. Rest in Peace fam. Tell Big, Pac, JMJ, Left Eye and Aaliyah about how you rocked the world one mo 'gin on Com's CD. Miss you man......