I feel like a fucking goon for missing this one… from his wikipedia:
“James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by his stage name J Dilla or Jay Dee, was an American record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan. He began his career as a member of the group Slum Village, and was also a driving force in the production trio The Ummah. Yancey started his career under the name Jay Dee (based on his initials) but used the name J Dilla from 2001 onward. Many critics believe J Dilla’s work to have had a major influence on his peers and that he 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).
J Dilla was often dubbed “your favorite producer’s favorite producer,” and was highly regarded by hip hop artists and producers such as Madlib, Pete Rock, Common, Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, Pharrell, Waajeed, Karriem Riggins, Flying Lotus, 9th Wonder, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Kanye West, and ?uestlove. About.com ranked J Dilla #15 on their “Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers” list
J Dilla died on February 10, 2006, three days after his 32nd birthday at his home in Los Angeles, California. According to his mother, Maureen Yancey, the cause was cardiac arrest. His last album, Donuts was released 3 days earlier, on February 7, 2006.
Ultimately, his death has had a significant impact on the hip hop community.Besides countless tribute tracks and concerts, Dilla’s death created a wealth of interest in his remaining catalogue, and, consequently, Dilla’s influence on hip hop production became more apparent.”
A video tribute after the break…R.I.P. Thanks to Janks Peez for the reminder.