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James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known as J Dilla or Jay Dee , was an American music producer born from the underground hip-hop scene in Detroit, Michigan in the 1990s.
It is discovered in the mid-nineties by Amp Fiddler (Parliament / Funkadelic), a musician also from Detroit, who tells Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest that there is a boy in his city who is doing some amazing productions with few means. Tip is amazed by his music, and offers to become part of The Ummah, the production team of A Tribe Called Quest, where he will produce during the following years productions for different artists along with the same Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Around the same time, he founded together with two childhood friends, Baatin and T3, Slum Village, group that publishes its official debut Fantastic, Vol. 2 finally in 2000 after years of postponements, after which Jay Dee will abandon it to focus on his solo career. In 2001 he changed his stage name from Jay Dee to J Dilla and came to Welcome to Detroit under the label BBE, an album produced entirely by him, which showed the world some of the top talent of the underground of his city. Two years later he moves from his hometown to Los Angeles to join the Stones Throw label, and creates the duet Jaylib with Madlib. The group publishes in 2003 Champion Sound, double album received with enthusiastic critics.
Despite preferring untiring work in anonymity to fame, Jay Dee produced over the years for artists such as Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, The Pharcyde, Q-Tip, Common, De La Soul, D ‘Angelo or Erykah Badu. His latest work is an LP titled Jay Stay Paid.
His career ended abruptly with his death, on February 10, 2006, after the complications derived from the thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura he suffered.
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