Why We Worship J. Dilla

Categories: J Dilla

Stones Throw
J. Dilla
February might be the cruelest month for hip-hop fans. Despite being the shortest of the year, it reminds us in rapid succession of losing some of the most promising talents whose lives were cut just short of drastically impacting the rap world. Among those lost in this 28 day span are Big Pun (February 7, 2000), Big L (February 15, 1999) and producer J. Dilla. But while Pun had already tasted mainstream success with "Still Not a Player," and Big L had a well-received debut as well as a strong street single in "Ebonics" under his belt at the time of their deaths, the days surrounding Dilla's death and his career up to that point have been largely drowned out with the accepted statement that he was always one of the genre's best. Now, eight years after his death, his greatness is accepted as undisputed fact. While we're not denying that Dilla is great, it's important to actually analyze why that is, as well as how the life of his music following his death has come to define his legacy.

See also: Raekwon on Only Built for Cuban Linx II, Auto-Tune, J Dilla, and the Future of Rap

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The Top 15 Hip-Hop Songs About Police Misconduct

Though artists like Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Baby Huey spoke on police corruption, it wasn't until the dawn of the rap era that the message in the music began to convey the anger and frustration of people who had been systematically disenfranchised and brutalized since the United States was founded. In honor of the spotlight on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy—which has particularly affected men of color ages 18 to 24—SOTC decided to compile a playlist. Get your bail money together and let your lawyer know a riot charge is on the horizon—here are 15 songs that address abuses by police departments actross the country.

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Blue Note Records' Ten Best Sample Sources

Blue Note's cover art: Also an inspiration. (Original on the left, homage on the right.)
Hip-hop artists have never been shy about sampling songs from the vaults of the Blue Note jazz label, and few have pilfered with as much creativity and gusto as A Tribe Called Quest's one-time de facto leader Q-Tip. During Tribe's heyday, Tip mined heavily from Blue Note's stylistic peak in the '70s, with cornerstone tracks from the group's first three albums being hooked around jazz grooves. Ahead of Michael Rapaport's documentary about the band, which hits screens on July 8, here are ten Blue Note tracks that have been flipped into rap classics—including, of course, a liberal number of Q-Tip compositions.

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