Ear Hustle

Legendary Producer & Artist J Dilla To Be Immortalized In The Smithsonian

This is most certainly GREAT NEWS for the Hip Hop community as well as African-Americans. 

James Dewitt Yancey aka J Dilla, an extremely talented producer and rapper who passed away from the debilitating disease Lupus in 2006 will be amongst some of the music industry’s greats in the Smithsonian Museum.  To name a few J Dilla will be with artists like Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck D of Public Enemy and Parliament Funkadelic, not bad company….right?

This former member of Slum Village has clearly made a name and legacy for himself that has the industry using his sought after works. He is what I would refer to as a musical genius of his generation, a title he so richly deserves. 

J Dilla’s items that will be donated to the Smithsonian will be his AKAI MPC 3000 Beat Machine and a Moog “Mini Moog” Synthesizer.  His custom-made Moog was only 1 of 2000 to ever created by the late Robert Moog best known for the creation of the rare Moog Synthesizer and pioneer of electronic music.  

J Dilla’s mother Maureen Yancey made the announcement of this fabulous honor on July 17th at the DC Loves Dilla yearly event.  The donation of these items will be HUGE for not just the hip hop community but for all those producers who have been influenced by these products.  I can’t imagine what it feels like to lose a child but to see him be immortalized before your eyes has got to be the best feeling a parent can have.

J Dilla items

Congratulations to the late J Dilla and his family on this amazing yet well deserved posthumous accomplishment. 

Read more about this amazing accomplishment as reported by the Michigan Citizen:

James “J Dilla” Yancey, the late Detroit music producer whose stardom has grown globally since his passing in 2006, is headed toward enshrinement in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, announced the news at the ninth annual “D.C. Loves Dilla” event on July 17.

j dilla


The legendary hip hop musician will be represented in the museum by his MPC beat machine and his custom Moog synthesizer.

“It’s a beginning,” said Yancey on stage during the Howard Theater tribute concert that featured N’Dea Davenport, Maimouna Youssef and Pharoahe Monch, “and (there’s) so much more to come now that I’ve been practicing what I’ve been preaching to you guys: That when you’re given something special, it’s made to like, love, share. Love is not made to put in your pocket or your home, it’s for sharing. And gifts are made for sharing. So we’re going to share the equipment.”

Yancey introduced the audience to Timothy Anne Burnside of the Smithsonian Museum, who worked with the longtime Conant Gardens, Detroit resident to secure the contribution of the equipment.

“On behalf of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture and from the bottom of my heart, we want to thank you for sharing your son’ legacy with us and for trusting us to share it with the world,” said Burnside.

She stated the two items donated “will be used to tell not just Dilla’s story and not just the story of hip hop, but through it will be a story of creativity, of innovation, of perseverance and of dedication.”

j dilla

The Smithsonian Museum’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture has a tentative opening schedule of late 2015 to early 2016. As part of the Smithsonian Institute, the museum will be a part of the world’s largest art, culture and research complex.

“This museum is the final jewel in the crown in the Smithsonian Museum on the (National) Mall,” said Burnside. “This museum will celebrate African-American history and culture through every possible lens, through every experience, through history, through politics, through music, through art, through dance, through fashion, spoken word — you name it, it will be there.

“And I’m here to announce today, that also there, when you walk though those doors will be Dilla.”

J Dilla was long considered a master of hip hop production in Detroit, working with many Detroit hip hop artists from an early age, including Slum Village, Phat Kat, 5 Elementz and others. From his basement studio in his mother’s house in Conant Gardens, he would go on to work with Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest, before finally leaving for Los Angeles.

j dilla

The donated equipment includes the Akai MPC 3000, a popular sample and beat sequencing machine for music producers, and a Moog “Minimoog Voyager” synthesizer, custom-made by the brand’s creator Dr. Robert Moog, a prize of his collection received late in his career while J Dilla struggled with his health.

Source: Michigan Citizen, The Complex (Video)



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