Plans are currently in motion to ensure the legendary Detroit producer James "J Dilla" Yancey will be celebrated in style this upcoming February on what will be the sixth anniversary of his passing. On February 10, "Dilla Day" is scheduled to take place at the Fillmore Detroit says Jonathon Taylor who heads the Yancey Media Group and works closely with Maureen Yancey, J-Dilla's mother. A quick call to Joylette Hunter, president of the J Dilla Foundation also helped confirm the event.
The line-up for the evening is still being sorted out, but thus far it's already stacked with talent. Confirmed guests include Busta Rhymes, Jay Electronica, Phat Kat, Danny Brown, Phife Dawg (of A Tribe Called Quest), J-Rocc, Esham and Fat Ray. Chuck Inglish of the Cool Kids may also perform that night. They've even got actress Taraji P. Henson scheduled to be the evening's host. In keeping up with the digital age, the event is scheduled to be simulcast as well for those who can't be there.
Before Dilla passed away in 2006 due to complications from Lupus, he was a core member of Detroit group Slum Village and did production for some of the greatest contemporary urban music artists of all time such as Erykah Badu, Common, Talib Kweli, the Roots, Janet Jackson, Bilal, Guru, A Tribe Called Quest and a host of others.
At a glance, it seems like the J Dilla Foundation is stepping their game up considerably and fighting to make sure that Dilla's music and legacy are honored properly in a large concert venue. Previous tributes around the city have all been well received and well meaning, although they're often smaller in comparison to tributes that Dilla receives in cities such as Los Angeles, Paris, London and New York.
Considering that Dilla's music has touched all corners of the globe, hopefully, the organizers of this tribute concert won't have a problem selling out the 2,100 seats their on the hook for at the Fillmore Detroit. Tickets are $20 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the J Dilla Foundation.
"We're leaving the price at $20 because we want as many people as possible to come out to the event, Taylor said on the phone earlier today. "You know we could charge more with this line-up having Busta Rhymes, Phife Dawg, and Taraji Henson hosting everything. But we want to get as many people from Detroit and whoever else in the building that night."
A portion of the events surrounding Dilla Day will go to build hype for the Rebirth of Detroit which is an upcoming album slated for release Memorial Day Weekend with a throng of Detroit artist performing over previously unreleased Dilla material.
For more information on that project, check out an interview that Taylor just did last week in which he speaks candidly on the Rebirth of Detroit album and his favorite Dilla memories.