Today would have been J. Dilla’s 47th birthday and it is also the 15th anniversary of Donuts, the album he was working on before he passed. It is well known that Dilla’s dedication to his craft had him working on Donuts from his sickbed. The instrumental album was named after his favorite dessert and was a bittersweet ending that elevated his legend.
On Friday, the 20th-anniversary edition of his solo album Welcome 2 Detroit was released to the streaming platforms. There are instrumentals and never heard alternate versions of the songs. The producer’s short life is still being felt in his music that continues to astound and cause serious head-nodding 15 years later. Busta Rhymes who worked with Dilla, used one of his beats on his current Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath Of God album.
This year rapper Frank Nitti who also worked with Dilla hosted the first digital Dilla Fest to celebrate his life. Ma Dukes talks about her son’s childhood love of music and how they recognized his gifts early. There are appearances from Amp Fiddler, Robert Glasper, his brother Illa J, Pete Rock, Guilty Simpson, DJ Rhettmatic, Terrace Martin and T3 of Slum Village. DJ Spinna closes the event with a DJ set.