I came across Dilla‘s solo album, The Shining as a freshman in college, but something about that title has always struck me. I remember hearing the line “…deep like The Shining/sparkle like a diamond...” from “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” and just being stuck. You know? The song goes on, but you still got that one line on your mind. It usually happens when I catch some clever wordplay, but this line in particular struck me for reasons I still can’t understand. The. Shining. Still gets to me.
Point is, that line was the reason I gave Dilla’s work a chance. iTunes suggested I listen to the album, but if it wasn’t for that title, I would have overlooked it. I had seen all the hype. Heard all the “R.I.P. Dilla” shout-outs from my favorite emcees, but I didn’t give any of his work a chance till I came across that album title (Turns out I had heard his work before then, I just didn’t know it). I didn’t give his work a chance because I just assumed he was the producer. Back then I wasn’t interested in instrumentals, beats, or production. Didn’t seem like there was that much to it.
Obviously I was wrong, the producer brings a lot to the table. Shit, the producer brings the table. He inspires the emcee. J. Dilla was the best at doing that. He brought out the best in every artist he ever worked with.
but I digress…
Today, as you may already know is James Yancey’s birthday. He passed away from Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura back in 2006. J. Dilla/Jay Dee will live on forever; if not for his music, then for the countless musicians he’s inspired and continues to inspire. I was scrolling through some youtube videos listening to some of his music (shoutout to @djdiz for his tweets this morning!), when I came across this documentary. There was that word again. Shining. I checked it out. Ended up skipping my class watching the whole thing.
I encourage you to check it out, whether you’re a fan of hip-hop or not. The dude is a inspiration. he’s more than that though. The dude shines. Brings light to everything he touches. I admire that. A lot of other people do to.
If you don’t know, now ya know. Hit the skip for part 2,3, and 4 of the documentary. Shoutout to Brian “@Bkyle_” Atkins for his directing. Check out giftedfilmsinc for more info on him. Read the rest of this entry →