Ma Dukes Speaks On J Dilla's Place In The Smithsonian
If you’re as avid of a donut consumer as we tend to be around these parts, then the news of J Dilla‘s MPC and Moog being inducted into their rightful place at The Smithsonian‘s forthcoming African American Museum Of History And Culture has had some time to simmer. In a recent interview with Huffington Post Jay Dee’s mother Ma Dukes (Maureen Yancey) shared her thoughts on the historic induction, what it meant to her and how it will echo though the halls of hip-hop at-large. She spoke on Dilla’s childhood and how broad his pallet was even as a tike, how long-drawn the process of getting his custom-built sonic weapons into the institution really was. Below you can read a few compelling excerpts from the interview, but you can head over to HuffPo for the full scoop. Raise it up for Ma Dukes y’all.
Ma Dukes on her favorite musical memory of her son and his music :
“I was driving down the street, and a song came on the radio and I loved it so much. I started shouting “That’s Dilla! That’s Dilla!” My husband and I started blasting the song so loud that the people in the car next to us looked at us like, are they insane, these two old people blasting that Hip-Hop music. I know his signature sound within the first two bars.”
On nurturing Dilla’s musicianship as a child :
“He grew up listening to all genres of music. His dad and I were both in the gospel choir at church. Everyone in the house sang. He was exposed to country music by his grandmother, and we entertained a lot. His dad sang Doo Wop professionally for a few years. James learned piano early, but didn’t like it much. He would have preferred to play guitar and drums. By the time he was 9, we got him his first snare drums, which he taught himself. And he played drums in the church. He also knew how to play the cello.”
On the loss of a legend :
“I’ve mourned Dilla and really have just come out of mourning last year… My whole life, everything about me just got shattered. I feel like if I’ve ever done anything right in this world, one thing was having Dilla, and the next thing is giving these things to the Smithsonian. Right now, my sun is shining every day.”