Questlove on J Dilla's genius for RBMA

Do not be fooled–this clip of Questlove expounding on the genius of J Dilla is really just an excerpt from Questo’s full 2-hour RBMA talk with Chairman Mao which we posted some months back. But our friends at Red Bull decided to liberate it today in honor of Dilla Day though, and this dramatic recreation of Roy Ayers groove “Ain’t Got Time” for Black Star‘s “Little Brother” does nicely sum up in one little anecdote the way Dilla made the MPC a true instrument that responded to his fingers the way the black and ivories do to a concert pianist or masterful composer. Woooo.


  • greg porte

    my close close friend was doing this back in 91-92. placing samples on the layers of the mpc in addition to a loop in pieces assigned consecutively. the thing back then was to do your own thing and not take entire performances, calling it “yours”. calling it genius is on some other sh**. funny how even integrity slips out of sight over time.

    i like dilla q-tip kanye, but c’mon. the accolades are criminally misplaced.
    sampling is mainly accidentals that happen when piecing together bits, placing them rhythmically within a bpm timeframe.

    i’ll never forget when a freind of mine comes over with a new drum machine at the time, forgot the brand, but he was so hyped up over the phone. he couldn’t wait to play what he’d done for me. fires it up and it’s jam by michael jackson, but he was like how vanilla ice was denying that ice ice baby wasn’t pressure sampled.
    being a non musician, maybe he didn’t hear it, which is odd or ignorant convenient denial being in a corner of cognitive dissonance

    • Mike

      cool story bro…

    • Derek Huey

      you’re over-simplifying it, and then carelessly downplaying the difficulty of sampling during a time when people didn’t have access to digital tools and midi instruments.

      You also drew a pretty complete connection between what JD did and what Vanilla Ice did… hmm.

    • greg

      for me, those days before digital platforms like protools and digital performer, all there was was the sampler. time expansion had not yet come into fruition so whatever key the sample was in, oh you could tune the sample up or down, but this would affect the beat bpm. that was it.
      sampling today is SOOoo easy. the units/software does everything for you. what was it “recycle” or some shit. just drop em in and all of the work was practically done. but the art of if is lost to the minds that didn’t go through the inception period. so you’d neber know where i’m coming from.

      what made dilla stand out was he was just funky with his signature lag meter. sampling!? we can argue all day about what’s precision and what’s ho hum

    • greg

      by the way, when do you think digital came around? and midi ???? that was so far before digital. midi is just a triggering router system

  • Mars Durden

    I don’t care how many times that story is told……I love it everytime.

  • husooo

    the dick sucking continues… i understand when people praise dilla as a great producer, because he was. but always those words “genius” “god” “goat” and so on in every text that is dilla related. its just pathetic. people have no own lifes to live. they just see that dilla was special so they sucking his dick to feel better. sad world.

    • Jay Dee

      man shut the fuck up with that hating shit, bitch ass nigga

  • The tracks Little Brother & History by JDilla feat: Blackstar is pure heaven!

  • greg

    please understand i ain’t into the hate shit, but one day i was hyped when i saw a video “kanye doing a beat in the studio” so i’m checkin’ it and no instruments anywhere in the studio and the replies were all praise. i’m like ????? he’s just sampling the barkays???? (as an example) and nothing else. yeah he trimmed it in spots, but the gist of the groove is the same hit it was in its original form. i felt like fool as i came across more and more of his stuff having no instrumentation outside the original sample.
    stevie wonder can show me the chords to wrecking ball and i call him up later talking about listen to my new song, er excuse me, my new BEAT. LOL!