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J Dilla’s mother, Ms. Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, recently announced that a new album of unreleased material from her son is in the works. The compilation, titled The Rebirth of Detroit, will featured new music from the late producer, as well as other local producers who were influenced by Dilla’s music.
According to Ms. Yancey, one of the goals for the project is to unite many of the musicians and… producers working in the Detroit hip-hop community.
“This will bring together artists that have drifted away from one another and haven’t been able to work with each other lately,” she says. “It’s a healing process for the city. For individuals, its going to bring back the love and the passion for the music and for what hip-hop has to offer.”
Musician Jonathon Taylor, who is the associate producer on the project, believes the album will uplift members in the hip-hop community who have been held back by divisiveness among rap crews and lack of opportunities to showcase their talent.
“The people who are part of the project will leave this project feeling better about themselves,” he says. “A lot of people have been wounded in the hip-hop community and this is going to give them a chance to shine over the most prolific producer in the history of Detroit hip-hop.”\
The Rebirth of Detroit is scheduled to be released in 2012
James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan.
According to his obituary at NPR.org, he “was one of the music industry’s most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, …Busta Rhymes and Common.
“Renowned producer Pete Rock placed J Dilla on his list of the top five producers of all time, while the editors of About.com ranked him #15 on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers. Andy Kellman of Allmusic stated that—by 2004, after being active for well over a decade as a producer—J Dilla had accomplished enough to be considered “an all-time great.”
J Dilla made the “Elite 8″ in the search for The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time by Vibe Also, The Source placed him on its list of the 20 greatest producers in the magazine’s twenty-year history.
Yancey’s career began slowly. He has now become highly regarded, most notably for the production of critically acclaimed albums by Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, and Erykah Badu. He was a member of Slum Village and produced their acclaimed debut album Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1) and their follow-up Fantastic, Vol. 2.
In the early 2000s, Yancey’s career as a solo artist began to improve; A solo album Welcome 2 Detroit was followed by a collaborative album with California producer Madlib, Champion Sound, which catalyzed the careers of both artists. Just as his music was becoming increasingly popular, Yancey died in 2006 of the blood disease TTP.
Following J Dilla’s death, the hip hop community became centered upon his music and image. Many of the artists with whom Yancey worked performed or recorded tributes, and a large group of followers voiced their support for the late musician. Yancey’s music experienced a rebirth as the producer gained many times more listeners than he had during his life, partly due to media exposure. Though several posthumous albums have been released and others are planned, the amount of unreleased recordings by the producer remain somewhat undetermined.
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