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Scott Heins Jay Electronica CMJ 2-1
Jay Electronica performs at the Santos Party House CMJ takeover -- Photo by Scott Heins
Photo Credit: Scott Heins

Jay Electronica & J Dilla Planned To Work On Music Together Before He Died

Scott Heins Jay Electronica CMJ 2-1 Photo Credit: Scott Heins for Okayplayer

Jay Electronica's engineer recounts the time the rapper met J Dilla, and how the two were supposed to collaborate prior to the producer's death.

Engineer and producer Mike "Chav" Chavarria is primarily known for his work with Jay Electronica, the enigmatic rapper who had last teased a snippet of a song produced by The Alchemist that has yet to see the light of day.

In a new interview with DJ Booth, Chav spoke about Jay's elusiveness and why his Act II album is still unreleased. Among other notable parts of the conversation is Chav recounting how Jay met J Dilla in 2003. Chav had already met Dilla beforehand when he helped the producer build his studio while he was working on Common's Like Water for Chocolate.

"I had been in contact with Dilla, we did a second wave on his studio, he bought a bunch of keyboards and a drum set. I took Jay over to his house and played Jay's music for him. And Dilla was literally like, nodding his head, 'Oh yeah…yeah, you ready.' So we were like, 'Okay sweet,'" Chav recalled.

"The whole shit really changed when Dilla died. He was supposed to be a part of everything," Chav continued. "The week that he died, I went to the hospital for the last time. Jay had reconnected with Dilla through Erykah, and they were supposed to go to the studio together. It never happened. Shit would've been totally different if that went down. Dilla was a big part of the plan of how we were moving."

Jay has used Dilla's beats for a few tracks that are available on the internet, including "Suckas," "Abracadabra," "Dimethyltriptamine," and "So What You Saying."

Elsewhere, Chav speaks on why Act II, the follow-up to Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) was never released.

"I don't ask him, 'So why didn’t you finish that album?' We don't really talk about shit like that. But from knowing him and other artists, you can only work on shit for so long before you get tired of it," he said. "Most artists don't even listen to their music after it's done. There's a window where your interest is in it, and once that's gone, you're not going to go back and finish it. So I get it, the window passed for that."

"So he released what he thought could stand on its own," Chav added. "People have heard at least 70 percent of it, I would say."