You already know how much we love DIlla here (way too much). What’s not too well known is the scope of his influence on music, both popular and underground. Every single piece of music that Dilla put out, whether for himself or someone else, has the highest production value around. It is widely believed that Dilla influenced popular producers (who had a lot more visibility than him)- that they saw the tools he was using to make his music and applied them to the mainstream. A testament to Dilla’s greatness: everyone he’s worked with calls him a genius. Hit the skip for a few great Dilla tracks and to see other artists praise him.
Janet Jackson ft. Q-Tip – Got Til It’s Gone (prod. J. Dilla/The Ummah)
The Velvet Rope – October 7th, 1997
Janet’s sixth studio album featured production from Dilla, but (surprise, surprise) when the short form music video for Got Til It’s Gone won a Grammy in 1998, Dilla (and the collective called The Ummah, comprised of Dilla and two Tribe members Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed) didn’t get a single sliver of credit for writing the song.
A Tribe Called Quest – Da Booty
The Love Movement – September 29th, 1998
Tribe’s 5th and final album was funny, sexy, and stylish and featured exclusive production from The Ummah. Phifey may not be the most lyrically sound rapper in the game, but his words secrete swag.
D’Angelo ft. Method Man and Redman – Left and Right
Voodoo – January 25th, 2000
“Liar, Liar/light your pussy on fire”
Voodoo didn’t sell as well as D’Angelo’s first album, Brown Sugar, but it pleased critics and listeners alike. To some, Voodoo is a musical and conceptual masterpiece, an album that pushes sexual desire a whole new level. As always, the Soulquarians (plus trumpeter Roy Hargrove and The Who bassist Pino Palladino) display incredible musicianship that lets D’Angelo display his vocal ability and compositional dexterity.
Slum Village – Hold Tight
Fantastic, Vol. 2 – June 13th, 2000
Slum’s second studio album featured lots of guest artists (D’Angelo, Busta, Q-Tip, Common, Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, ?uestlove) and production almost exclusively from Dilla. Widely heralded as a group that could save rap, the trajectory of Slum Village (comprised of Dilla, Baatin [R.I.P], and T3) changed drastically in 2001 when Dilla departed from the group.
Jay Dee (a.k.a. J. Dilla) – The Clapper
Welcome 2 Detroit – Debruary 27th, 2001
Dilladog’s solo debut came on the heels of Slum Village’s Fantastic, Vol. 2. It was a celebration of Dilla’s hometown, Detroit, and featured notable guests like a pre-Slum-Village Elzhi, Frank-N-Dank, and Phat Kat.
Busta Rhymes – High
Dillagence (Mixtape) – 2007
Busta released this mixtape for free via MickBoogie.com. Dillagence is a compilation of unreleased Dilla tracks that were intended for Busta’s use.
Bilal talking Dilla:
Questlove talking Dilla.