10 Key J Dilla Beats

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  • J Dilla, Jay Dee
  • The Pharcyde, J Dilla
  • De La Soul, J Dilla
  • A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla
  • Janet Jackson, Q-Tip, J Dilla
  • Slum Village, J Dilla
  • Common, J Dilla, Questlove, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu
  • J Dilla, Dwele
  • J Dilla
  • Busta Rhymes, J Dilla
  • J Dilla

10 Key J Dilla Beats

James Yancey, aka J Dilla, was undoubtedly the most slept-on hip hop beatmaker ever when he was alive. But since his death an eight-year anniversary, Monday (February 10) he's achieved hip hop sainthood, a mythical cult figure to those lucky enough to have heard his pioneering productions. His influence on hip hop's sonic landscape is hard to underestimate; his work was the blueprint for late '90s and early 2000s neo-soul icons, including Jill Scott and D'Angelo; anchored the sound of Common, Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip; and was a huge inspiration to the Neptunes, the Roots and others. Here, on what would have been Dilla's 40th birthday, we took on the difficult task of distilling his lengthy track record to these 10 key moments — whether turning points or benchmarks in his career or groundbreaking master works that are still blowing minds today. There is nothing like this...  —Alex Gale

(Photo:  Stones Throw Records)

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