Remembering the Time Daft Punk Enlisted J Dilla to Remix “Aerodynamic”
A Daft Punk sample led to a rare gem of the J Dilla discography.
On Monday French electronic duo Daft Punk, composed of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, announced their breakup via a video titled “Epilogue.” The group is known as one of the most influential house acts in the world, earning 13 awards and 43 total nominations for their music. The group has worked with artists like Pharrell Williams, The Weeknd and more. However, a B-side from 2004 may be one of their most notable deep cuts.
As the story goes, Slum Village’s 2001 track “Raise it Up” samples “Extra Dry” from Bangalter’s 1998 solo album Trax on Da Rocks, Vol.2. When a friend of Daft Punk’s manager Pedro Winter–a DJ and producer himself–pointed it out, he didn’t push to sue for copyright infringement. He saw the potential for a special collaboration. A meeting with Dilla followed shortly after, and the rest is history.
“Instead of losing our time and [reacting] as assholes and ask for money,” Winter explained, “I propose to the Daft boys to ask [for] a remix in exchange for the use of that sample. I met Dilla in Miami and he was of course up for it and was really friendly. He is from Detroit and electronic music never scared him. We were so happy with the result and the shout out. It was a simple and nice adventure. I feel really lucky to have met Jay Dee.”
Winter and Daft Punk asked J Dilla to remix their single “Aerodynamic.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do so. In turn, he passed the task off to Karriem Riggins. Riggins told his side of the story in an interview with Bonafide Magazine. “I did the remix,” he said. “Dilla was the first guy that sampled Daft Punk (actually one half of that act, Thomas Bangalter’s 1998 track Extra Dry). And that was on Raise It Up, on Fantastic Volume II. The sample wasn’t cleared, so when Daft Punk’s people heard it, they loved it. But they said this cat didn’t create the sample; so instead of a lawsuit let’s just get a remix from him. At the time, I don’t think Dilla was available to do it so he reached out to me, and that’s how that came about and I ended up doing it.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story featured an error. J Dilla did not produce the Daft Punk “Aerodynamic” Slum Village remix.