Erykah Badu can count herself among those who had the privilege of working with the late, great James “J Dilla” Yancey when he was alive. During a recent tour stop and meet and greet session, the legendary artist fondly recalled her time working with J Dilla after a fan’s question.
Erykah Badu and Yasiin Bey are currently on the singer’s “Unfollow Me” tour and longtime J Dilla collaborator Frank Nitt of Frank n Dank fame shared a video of Badu’s time with fans during the session. It isn’t known which city Badu was in but in her usual warm fashion, she graciously answered a query of how it was to work with Dilla Dawg.
“James Yancey, he didn’t talk a lot,” Badu began in her answer to the woman, who gave her name as Sophia of California. “He was quiet. He communicated through that music and he was very organized. All of the Coke cans in his refrigerator were turned the same way.”
Badu added, “And he was generous, and he was merciful. Like he let a lot of people get away with biting his sh*t.”
To Badu’s last point, J Dilla’s signature sound spawned a legion of imitators that came close but they never could fully emulate the swing and sample chopping skills he possessed.
His JayLib partner, Madlib, might exist as the only producer who channeled the essence of Jay Dee authentically in a pair of moving tributes titled Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to… (Dil Cosby and Dil Withers Suite) under his Beat Konducta moniker. The project was released on February 10, 2009, three years to the day of Dilla’s passing.
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