James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974–February 10, 2006), better known as J Dilla or Jay Dee, was an American hip hop producer and MC, who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip-hop scene in Detroit, Michigan. He began his career as "Jay Dee" but used the name "J Dilla" from 2001 on. Many critics believe J Dilla's work to have had a major influence on his peers, and he perhaps embodied the neo soul sound, playing a defining yet understated role during the sub-genre's rise (roughly from the mid-90s to the early 2000s). in 2006 his genius was cut short at 32 after battling the incurable blood disease, lupus.
As part of the Gone Too Soon series, Benji B presents this 1Xtra story celebrating the incredible music J Dilla created during his lifetime which includes tracks for Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, The Pharcyde and De La Soul to name but a few.
Through interviews with Plug 2 from De La Soul, Mos Def, Questlove from The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, J.Rocc, Slum Village members T3 and Wajeed, his brother Illa J and his incredible mum, Ma Dukes, we learn about how he made those beats, what he was like as a person and the legacy he left behind. Benji also pays his own tribute to the man he knew for almost ten years and is his favourite producer of all time.