See me four wheelin' roll over the whole building
Chrome killin' 'em twenty inches the whole Dill with it
I'm so ill wit it so deal wit it...
Hyperbole time: J Dilla Changed My Life. Well, at the very least he enhanced the shit out of it. I know that phrase is almost synonymous with the dorky hiphop-message-board tryhards' favorite T-shirt (and yes, I got one too—I hear the hipsters call that irony), but James "Jay Dee/J Dilla" Yancey legitimately blew minds worldwide during his too-short life, mine included. How, you ask? Well, I definitely recall the moment I went from "this guy's fucking amazing" to "this guy is God and he's actually speaking to me": when I first popped in Welcome 2 Detroit and heard his celestial cover of Donald Byrd's "Think Twice," a tune my father cowrote and produced. Who cares, right? Well, you asked.
It was a little over three years ago that Dilla passed, and his influence seems stronger than ever before. No lie, every week there's a new mixtape or album with an MC rhyming over his beats—some officially sanctioned, some janky (and I hereby approve the waterboarding of wack motherfuckers trying to rhyme over Donuts and calling it a mixtape). However, the newest Dilla project hitting shelves is official enough to wear stripes: Jay Stay Paid, the new compilation of unheard joints curated by the late beat-god's hero Pete Rock and Ma Dukes (aka Jay's mother). It drops June 2, but hit the War Room May 31 and celebrate Dilla Dog in style at the official Seattle album-release party, with your selectas: my man Rev. Shines (from the Lifesavas of course); the 206's own blendmaster Flash, Topspin; and the man with the plan, Marc Sense. Come through and toast McNasty with the homies. Workin' on it! You know!
You know what else? Welcome home to all the 206 road warriors repping right right now. Dyme Def are back from cruising up the coast with Saigon; the Let Go and Tulsi are home from the Bar Hunt tour with Louis Logic; Macklemore is back from burning up the Midwest with Grieves and Budo, who also just rocked the awesome Minneapolis indie-rap festival Soundset along with Blue Scholars and Jake One (backing up Freeway, natch). Then there's motherfucking Grayskul, back in the colonies after headlining a whirlwind European tour that took them through the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Spain. Speaking of the 'Skul, if you want to wish Onry and JFK a proper welcome back (gifts of gear/alcohol gladly accepted, no internet stalkers please), drop in to the High Dive May 28 and digest the hardcore—if it doesn't upset your delicate constitution.