Dearest J Dilla disciples, this year we celebrate what would have been the late legend’s 43rd birthday. It’s a bittersweet one, no doubt, but it’s vital we raise our glass to pioneers even after they pass. This time, we salute not just the man but the expansive archive he’s built.
Known for meticulous organization in his personal record collection, Dilla’s home library serves as the foundation for some of hip-hop’s most cherished cuts, built up with candied rhodes chops and a never-exhausted regime of extra-crisp snares and cavernous kicks, transforming gems from James Brown, Martha Reeves, Minnie Riperton and The Jackson 5 into looped and lush bedrocks, tailor-made for your favorite MC. But Dilla’s palette stretched well beyond the realms of funk and soul. His tastes for experimental electronic groups and, of course, the preternatural swing of bossa nova are also readily apparent. There’s a real pull towards rock of all creeds and origins; anthemic, yacht, prog and other deeply cool, criminally slept-on shades we didn’t even know existed. But leave it to a genius like the elder Yancey brother to include a history lesson in each flip.
So we went into the depths of Spotify’s music cloud to extract and amass what is perhaps the largest (and longest) list of samples used by the Motor City maven anywhere. Countless hours went into compiling this log, testing the limits of Spotify’s database (surprisingly deep, all things considered.)
There’s still plenty more to account for, but as far as we know, this is the deepest trove available on this (or any) streaming platform. Hit play to dive deep down the hole and subscribe to our new Spotify channel to keep up on the paths of rhythm.