07.02.1974 - This particular date has to go down in history as the most important date in hip hop and music in general, because on that day the Earth got blessed with two genius producers in the names of Seba Jun (Nujabes) and James Yancey (J Dilla). To this day I still cannot believe this, coincidence if you like, to have two of the most prolific and inspiring inovators in hip hop production born on the same day...crazy.
In this post I pay tribute to J Dilla (check Ivo's tribute to Nujabes here) and celebrate his part of the glorious day by sharing one of my favourite tracks he made - "So Far To Go", from his posthumous 2006 album The Shining, featuring two fellow Soulquarians. This record is a great demonstration of Dilla's prowess in sampling, as he flips The Isley Brothers' "Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)" to produce a stunning, soulful beat, which when combined with with Common's flow and D'Angelo's hook results in a truly timeless piece of music.
Personally, Dilla has been a great influence, as he changed the way I listen to music. It is amazing to see how his ear would detect the quality in the tiniest moments in an obscure record and stich those samples together to form a perfectly flowing loop that feels like the best thing you've heard. The way he gave every record a chance put me onto the path of music discovery and helped me realise that quality can be everywhere and you just have to find it. Simply following the samples he used is a gift that keeps on giving - from his sample of Tarika Blue's "Dreamflower" in "Didn't Cha Know" for Erykah Badu to the way he flipped Ron Ayers - "Ain't Got Time" for Black Star's "Little Brother", there is simply so much music you can discover from him.
Happy Birthday and Rest in Peace Dilla Dawg.