Hip Hop

Slang Editorial: J Dilla: Hip Hop’s Abused Martyr

blame it on Meka June 23, 2010

In today’s post at the house of Harris I discuss the problems with J Dilla fanatics.

READ: Slang Editorial: J Dilla: Hip Hop’s Abused Martyr

  • bon

    first!!! omg my first time ever

  • Chauncey Adams

    Meka you are on point. I had rarely heard people talkin about Dilla being the best producer until he died. I admit I wasn’t too familiar with Dilla when he was alive, but these hop-on niggas came out the woodwork as soon as he died.

  • B. Reed

    You must not be listening…i have been following Dilla for good time now…..the way he flipped some of his samples is untouched in hip hop….death just caused him to not be able to build the type of resume as some of the other great producers…

  • Tarikh Mizan

    I so agree Im tired of white ass wack ass producers thinkin they relevent cause they got a Dilla shirt. New rule if u didnt know Dilla personally stop bullshittin real talk

  • CABNumber

    Dame man did you ever stop to think that some of the people that supported Dilla after his death were to young to even no about his music. You got to give people time I started listening to him when I was 13 Im 16 right know. I don’t no who you think you are but it really isn’t up to you to decide who is the best or not. I don’t care if you do write for XXXL its the people who chose & they chosen J Dilla as one of the greatest ask them Hip-Hop Head they know what’s up.

  • markaveli

    There are a number of people who didn’t know who Dilla was until he died. Then they found out what he was all about, listened to his catalog, and appreciated his work. So is it wrong to like his music after only knowing about him through his death??? This article is stupid as F’.

  • Will

    How is it my fault that I never heard of this guy until he died? I didn’t grow up with this stuff, I’m too young for that. It doesn’t make sense for you to criticize people like that and I don’t think it’s fair to do so.

  • sb252

    You may be right to a certain degree but his untimely death did bring more ears to his son that would ot have normally heard it. We can’t tell somebody that they can’t like Dilla now if you didn’t like him 10 years ago

  • OGEazy

    Meka is it really sickening? I mean sure he wasn’t known as being the shit when he was alive, but respecting a producer who worked with the golden age rappers we all love and respect is no crime.
    And that video with the Drake audience not knowing the SV song really shouldn’t have been a surprise to you. Most people, especially whites (no offense) under the age of 18 don’t know much of the Golden Age of hip-hop. That should really have no bearing on your opinion on J. Dilla though.

    I’d also like to mention that while I was always playing hip hop as a kid, I rarely was interested in who was making the beats as much as I was paying attention to the lyrics that were going over the instrumental.

    Band wagoners are a problem when they only stay interested for a matter of weeks/months. But many others and I have been turned to Dilla fans for life because of his posthumous praise. Their new found ‘reverence’ for Dilla might inspire a few producers to go back to the old feel that instrumentals have instead of this new techno/808/funhouse style that’s so popular.

  • Chauncey Adams

    He’s not saying that you can’t like Dilla and appreciate his music after learning about him after his death, he’s criticizing those who hop on the “this person died so he is the GOAT” bandwagon. There are a lot of people that make these claims because it seems to be the cool thing to do, same with BIG and Pac. I’m sure Meka argument isn’t aimed at those who learned about him after his death, and then studied his catalog, but at those who claim he was the greatest and hadn’t truly studied his legacy. These types of people DO exist in larger than expected numbers

  • Brutally Honest

    I got a fuckin hard drive with no case that contains Dillas whole discography. y’all can find the torrent, all the joints he produced for other artists, the SV albums and his instrumental albums. I miss Hearing Dilla. Wasn’t my all-time fav but hes in the top 10.

  • hellboy

    This is a horrible article. This guy does not know shit.f

  • first off i respect you meka and your opinion… it is honest. to clarify myself though with greatest producer… dilla is up there… by the time 98 came… all primo’s beats started to sound the same. by then dilla’s sheet was some shit… already from the tribe busta and pharcyde… by the time i heard slum vol. 2 and common- like water for chocolate… i put him above pete rock and primo… then jaylib came… he passed both of them dudes who were getting put in the whole marley marl prehistoric shi_… that is my argument… and now… madlib is carrying the torch… but meka you probably put 9th over dilla… for all the new heads who fuc_ with dilla… who cares if you did fuc_ with him after he died… he didn’t get press until after he died… look at how all these young hippies carry the legacies of the grateful dead, doors and jimi hendrix… that is what is wrong with hip hop… before his dilla’s death i was on donuts tough… the leaks were in the lil wayne numbers and i bought that shit like how lil wayne’s fans got carter 3 on the day it came out… actually i got tired of the donut leak i got with the stonesthrow tags… that is my argument… http://theedopeshow.podomatic.com … one

  • OGEazy

    Well who is going to determine whether or not I’m a bandwagon fan or someone who really likes J. Dilla.

    Maybe Meka’s been around a lot more Dilla dick riding than I have because he’s been to more rap shows than I have and he’s got some pent up frustrations.

  • KoJ_the_YDC

    @ Chauncey Adams…Cosign like a muafucka
    People hop on bandwagons all day long and don’t really know what they’re talking about, especially when it has to be relative to other things when considering “who is the best” which is always gonna be personal opinion…had an argument with a muafucka the other day hollering that 2Pac is the greatest of all time, better than Biggie…yet never heard Ready To Die…said Stillmatic is one of their favorite albums ever, #1, and never heard illmatic…smh…i’m all for people listening to music whenever they get introduced to it, especially good music, i mean that’s what it was made for there ain’t no expiration dates, but muafuckas are just irrational sometimes, and especially when it comes to Dilla, do the history work first

  • Eric

    I think some of you are missing the point. the article wasnt literally taking target practice on those who just started listening to Dilla AFTER he died. It’s the overall infatuation that’s being blown WAAAAY out of proportion, hence the “disgusting” comment.

    @cabnumber Meka is stating who HE feels is the best. If you feel differently, then let that be. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so respect that.

    no one can really make judgment on who started listening to Dilla, and when they did. If they started listening to him after he died, so what? So what if they knew about Dilla before that? The fact of the matter is both sides got appreciation for the man, and it shouldnt matter to whoever at how much each individual have. No one has the right to make that call.

    The point of this article is to point out how crazy these “fans” are of Dilla’s music, and how they can be waaaaay out of control sometimes. Sometimes those fans can make it unbearable for others to simply just enjoy his music. You see these folks at the shows, doing all sorts of obnoxious things that youre just like “WTF? Calm down… it ain’t all that serious!”

  • i agree bandwagon fans outnumber the true genuine fans, but there are devotees like myself who were too young to even know who he was.

    my thing is this: i was merely a high school freshman when J Dilla passed. i admit i didnt know who he was until around 2007. but funny thing is i’ve been listening to his work as a kid, AND I DIDNT EVEN KNOW IT. i always listened to Common and Tribe, occasionally Slum Vill and D’Angelo, but only after he died did i know that he produced a lot of joints that i’ve been bumpin for ages. does it make me a bandwagon for studying his catalog? i hope not. cuz i’m just doing my part to keep dude’s music alive.

    as far as him being the greatest is concerned, his techniques are admirable. some of my favorite songs of ALL TIME are Dilla produced. of course everyone will have a different argument, but Dilla is a lock at top 3-5 ever. his catalog stacks up with Premo’s and Pete Rock’s, so why wouldnt he??

  • yougotrondo’d

    Yeah Dilla getting popular in the past four years only has to do with him dying…I mean it clearly had nothing to do with the fact that people can listen to his music online now, when back in the 90s/early 2000s you had to buy the album. Good luck going into your average cd shop and coping Frank N Dank 48Hrs or Welcome to Detroit. This article has some good points, but it has a lot of ignorance too. I mean compared to Big Pun, Pac, Biggie, Big L, does Dilla really get much more praise? Shit when Pac was alive nobody was making the G.O.A.T. argument…Big L was only relevant in NY.

  • killin’emdaily

    Dilla’s tight. idk just cus he died, nigga’s love him. just like michael jackson is suddenly cared about and loved dearly by everyone right after he died.smh

  • Ken

    Fuck yes. See meka is the man. I still point out Charles Hamilton’s mixtape “And then they played Dilla”. And these people say that Dilla is the greatest to hold a grudge on CH. While the foundation started after the CH thing…. He did so much to shed light on Dilla but is not credited for it…

  • jd

    I never got it. It’s not like he was a Dr. Dre, RZA, Premier etc. on the beats. Then only got good the last few years of his life, but like the last Tribe Called Quest album? Yuck. No doubt we would have heard even better things from him, but people are posthumously on his tip WAAAAY too much, and it’s been like 3 or 4 years now. Dilla had more beats than 2pac had rhymes I guess, but everything from Dilla has been rhymed over by like 5 or 6 different artists by this point. It’s done. Let the man rest.

  • George Clooney

    Too many sensitive girls up in this comment section right now. If you were “too young” or “hadn’t heard of him” at the time of his death, I don’t think you need to take offense here.

    Meka’s shit was actually 98% on point. I hate on Meka from time to time, but he actually posed a very valid question here regarding Dilla’s legacy. Put it this way, Dilla made some dope beats, but wasn’t exactly the “genius” people posthumously made him out to be. So many people blamed him for fucking up Beats, Rhymes & Life, and Labcabincalifornia. Early on, Busta and Q-tip were the only notable industry folk vouching for dude, while everybody else just paid him very little mind. Even when he did like 3/4 of Common’s Like Water For Chocolate, people still made a bigger deal out of the single Primo contributions on the album.

    And I personally don’t understand why he’s regarded the best hip hop producer ever by people who should seriously know better. I mean, you could call him one of the most prolific beatmakers ever (even though a ton of that shit just sounds unfinished), but that’s only because we’ve been granted unlimited access to his vaults since his passing. What if we had that kind of unrestricted access to Dre’s 10 or so Detox albums or every beat RZA ever made? Hell, I can think of at least 20 producers off the top of my head that have made more subastantial contributions to hip hop if we’re just going off of quality alone (Bomb Squad anyone? Marley Marl? Pete Rock?).

    I dunno. Anyway, good shit, Meka.

  • The Truth

    I think it’s safe to say that it is universally recognized that Meka is a faggot.

  • Ng234

    i’ve been on Dilla from back in the days i’m 25 now, find myself still calling him Jay Dee most times. Of any artist that has passed away his death hit me the hardest, to me he’s my #1 producer of all time. Meka you’re entitled to your opinion, i don’t mind the band wagon jumpers now, cause he’s getting more shine now than he ever did and in turn people that were involved or collaborated are getting some shine too. The only thing that pisses me off is sometimes when someone who i know just became a fan last week is trying to school me on Dilla when i know what i went through to get SV fanstatic Vol. 2 in Nigeria back in the day way before you could just download that shit. Dilla will always be the greatest to me

  • crackadon

    Meka, you’re a fucking idiot. i knew that right off the bat when you said “I’ll say that I was never the biggest Jay Dee fan” then you proceed to make some retarded analogy about a McRib? are you shitting me? i agree with what yougotrondo’d said. people that die get added praise and they get added worship, right? but to try to take something away from Dilla’s magic because of a sudden fanbase after his death is bullshit. you even said you weren’t much of a JD fan, so you’re perspective is biased right off the bat. if you don’t fuck with it, then you don’t fuck with it. BUT can anyone honestly tell me there’s a producer as prolific and as unique as Dilla? can you tell me that there’s a producer that has a lo-fi, even psychedelic, dream-like sound with mad sample flips and creativity? no one has ever produced like him and for you to right some BS cuz you never liked his material makes you look like a moron.

  • SkipBayless

    Dumb article to be frank. I can’t like some dude because I didn’t know his shit when he was alive? That’s simply moronic. Through your bullshit article you’re suggesting that those not put on to Dilla when he was alive should never be put on. Sometimes greatness is only exposed through death, and in death that greatness can finally be truly appreciated.

  • Sylent

    I’ve always seen it as your never really a true star in hip hop until you die.

  • SkipBayless

    ^^^ Jay-Z?

  • Boomerang Slang

    yeah this article seemed kinda pointless. i didnt like Dilla till after he died but then again the first time i heard Illmatic was about 10 years ago. Im 23 and once i started downloadin music I started downloaded all the classics from 87-96 like Gang Starr and Pete & CL and De La Soul. There is A LOT of good hip-hop out there and its kinda hard to stay up on all of it.

    And Dilla isnt the greatest but he’s in my top 5. Premo and Pete Rock are the best

  • kno1youlove

    Spot on Meka.

  • TPN72

    if this is such a annoyance to you then why would you post on this web site countless tributes to the late great dilla and multiple videos of artists reminiscing on him and then write and article which from my understand is calling him overrated and that if you did not buy his cds right when they came out or read the production credits that he was featured on you missed your chance to show your appreciation. If a young kid really liked 50 cent or some modern rappers tough lyrics wouldnt you tell them to listen to eric b and rakim? if some one liked kanye wests soul samples or bass would you tell them them to listen to dilla? Dilla created a large body of work that was not fullly understood or appreciated at his time, it is obvious that he created a legacy that can be passed on to younger generations. So meka i dont really understand your argument, whats so wrong with showing love for something you have grown to cherish, I have a miles davis poster and a fela kuti poster and i just started listening to them two years ago does that “sicken” you?

  • Let JD rest in peace, it’s good that people have found him after he died. Dilla shunned the lime light, so it’s not like he was easy to find, he has a handful of uncredited album productions from Badu to D’angelo

    no pressure for Meka.. but the man’s been dead a while and this is the umteenth article i seen on this same topic.. shit is weak to me.

    let dilla RIP

  • Dj ILL One

    Meka,you are right. like Pack FM said”hip hop changed my life,Dilla changed your T-shirt!” I`m am inspireded by Dilla because of his ability to do what he did so well, but I am not trying to copy his style and act as if I`m dr. Cornell West breaking down his techniques like so many of his fanatics do. I first heard of him when he did “runnin`’ and didn`t know he was from Detroit until a friend of mine met hiom down at Virginia State with ATCQ. I followed his work closely after that. i put him up as one of the best producers in the game, but I don`t have a shrine in his honor in my studio.

  • SkipBayless

    I wish Meka would respond to a few of these comments, although I know he only responds when he can do so in a mocking/arrogant manner. Hence, I’m sure we won’t be hearing from him because most of these comments regarding his article dissect his bullshit thoroughly.

  • DayO

    aint shit wrong with j dilla fanatics.
    i dont give a fuck!
    dilla the greatest, and the whole world should be fanatics.

  • james

    Bishop Lamont said it best,

    “Too many dick riders;
    wasn’t bump J-Dilla until after J-dilla died”

    I didn’t know who he was until Bishop Lamont spoke on him. I checked out and still have his material but I barely listen to it. I respect Dilla for staying true to the D, his work with Common & Busta, and, most importantly, paving the path for Black Milk & Elzhi.

  • Meka I see what you were saying on here and I totally agree with you. That being said, Ima late Dilla head. Im 21 I knew who he was in high school but wasnt familiar with alot of his stuff aside from the BE album at the time and thought the shit was dope. Also, I had just started getting into like “indie”/underground hip hop around that time too. So by the time I was a freshman in college I realllllly started fucking with Donuts and the Slum Ville Fantastic tapes. Alotta dudes be riding his nuts though and couldnt recognize any of his shit

  • Angrous

    i feel where both sides are coming from but this is my view I’m 18 and i grew up listening to tracks produced by dilla. now i may not have known who produced it at the time but i’ve been listening to slum village since i was bout 13 just because i now have a name to match the sound i was hearing and that i already had deemed as great doesn’t make me a bandwagon follower and i also produce and rap if my beats are dilla influenced then so what before i knew dilla’s name i was trying to make beats similar to nag champa or thelonious so some of us grew up on dilla and the fact that we know his name now just means we have a name to match the sounds and in the end it’s about the music and his following is proof of this.

  • RIKO


  • robertTHEallen

    i share your stance. i liked him, but not a stan. and its riddicuous how hes only loved after he cant feel it firstnad. oh and i also think premier is hands down the best producer ever.

  • somebody

    I love how you assume Drake fans and J Dilla fans would overlap so much. Drake =/= hip hop

  • SkipBayless

    ^^^ stfu, he just isn’t your hip-hop.

  • ruthless

    Yeah, real niggaz only
    (“Them jewels you rock, make ’em envy!”)
    Let’s do it, worldwide, show that shine
    Get the cash, and flash like Kodak blind ’em
    If I get the urge to splurge or bling I do it
    It’s nobody’s concern, they ain’t got a thing to do with this
    Shut the fuck up~! Please believe
    I had the boy kneed, out in Philly freeze the sleeves
    Givin the “Gangsta Love” like Eve and Keys
    The first piece, worshipped by the set of thieves with cheese
    And haters think I ain’t peep they steeze
    Don’t think I don’t got, peeps that’ll squeeze the things
    And tryin to be M.O.P. you’ll be D.O.A.
    Me and my mans and them roll deep (peep)
    And we don’t play those games, no chain tuckin
    Only congratulate if you hate fuck y’all
    Rock City down here in the D
    Bling bling, it’s time to make ’em envy (“make ’em envy!”)
    Let’s do it

    FUCK MEKA!!!!!!!


    I hate bandwagon hoppers. I wasn’t up on really knowing who Dilla was until Common dropped “Be”. Of course, I’ve heard “Like Water For Chocolate”, “Vivrant Thing”, “Runnin'”, “Reminise”, various Jaylib tracks, etc. I didn’t cop “Be” until after Dilla’s death, so when I listened I took more notice to his tracks because everyone nade such a big deal about it. After that I found that he was behind those previous tracks and more that I mentioned. I appreciate Dilla’s contributions and technique & style, but I can’t call him the greatest not even listening to his entire catalog. I think Meka’s point is simple, people always tend to hop on an artist’s bandwagon (in hip-hop) after they die, and they tend to always get more praise than either they deserve or ever recieved when they were breathing. You can like or love who you want but don’t act like you been up on some shit the whole time just because you peep the discography on wiki and downloaded every track and now you’re expert, it’s much more than that. Dilla is great, I loved his technique and style, but when I talk producers he isn’t the first guy I speak of.

  • O

    Meka fucked up big time this time..

  • Contraban Jackson

    Real talk I learned about Dilla the week he died, when I saw Donuts being advertised on iTunes and thought it looked interesting. I was 16 at the time. Now I’m 20, and have a real appreciation for the history of hip-hop and its greatest artists. I’ve even seen SV live (right before Baatin died).

    Dilla is without a doubt a top 5 producer of all time. Personally, Madlib is my favorite, but all the time I meet people from all walks of life who love Jay Dee. I will agree that “Dilla Changed My Life” shirts have been made into more of a fashion statement than anything these days, and when people like Charles Hamilton use his name to boost themselves it’s shitty. But, the way Dilla crafted his beats so the bass, drums, samples, strings, and whatever almost melted together isn’t something you hear from other people.

    Would you rather have people dick riding Will.I.Am or some shit?!?

  • chris_martian

    ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ meka epic fail in this.. .but ok,is your taste

    atcq,slum village,busta rhymes,common,de la soul,q-tip..FRANK-N-DANK!!,erykah,M.E.D.,jaylib,D’angelo,talib kweli,dwele,Pharcyde, keith murray,skillz,janet jackson,the roots,bilial,mos def,phat kat,illa j… and etc etc.. .and all epic songs…

    jay dee > pete rock > dj premier >

  • I don’t know about this one Mek. Drake fans don’t know Dilla from Preem from Pete Rock… Dillas high on my list far as producers. Might no t be high on yours but others deeply appreciate that dude.
    Dilla def changed my life yo.

  • I don’t mean to sound like a typical Dilla-head or nothing, but here’s how I see it: If Dilla isn’t your favorite producer, (or AT LEAST close to it) you have not heard enough Dilla.

  • And remember, Dilla dropped POSSIBLY his most influential (not his best, however) album 3 days before he died. So naturally, he’ll have fans that flocked after his death. Jussayin.

  • Just because you start liking someones music after they died doesn’t change the fact that you like their music. I hate this argument. If he died and his music sucked, no one would care. Turns out he is a genius and his death simply allowed more people to discover that.

  • gubujazz

    Yeah, I gotta say that “you cant appreciate if you werent up on it since back in the day” is on some ol’ corny ass hipster shit. I can appreciate whatever hot shit i want. I dont verbally gun ride Dilla to death. But his music is ridiculous and I appreciate, bottomline

  • people smh

    damn alot of you people are idiots like gubujazz & SkipBayless
    meka isnt saying that, he is saying that people hop on the “dilla is the greatest” when they dont even know dilla music they just say it cuz he dead, he’s NOT saying people who just started listening to dilla cant appreciate dilla,he is saying people who dont listen to dilla that say he the best and dont know his work are idiots,he didnt say dilla was wack,get some fucking comprehension skills

    p.s. i still hate meka lil b liking ass

  • The REAList

    (2)DOPBOYZ or (A)DOPEBOY Conspiracy

    I’m here to shed light on my theory of the “2dopeboyz” Shake & Meka.
    We all have seen pictures of Meka, he is indeed a real living entity. How many of us have actually seen his counterpart “Shake”. Would it be so inconceivable to believe that “Shake” is nothing more than Meka’s alter ego that he uses. It is never Meka who responds to hate from the bloggers, it is Shake. This could be Meka’s way of taking out his frustrations through his made up blogging parter, Shake. Meka could very easily turn his alter ego in a virtual counterpart and allow this made up blogger to absorb the blows 2dopeboyz takes. Hate is always directed at Shake, making Meka seem as the favorite between the two when really Meka is the ONLY dopeboy. Could (2)dopeboyz merely be (A)dopeboy???

  • Johnn Jayy

    So what you’re saying, Meka, is anyone that discovered Dilla’s music AFTER his death is fake??!! And that if I want to be a true fan i need to know the details in inside misunderstandings between the groups he worked with (mainly Tribe Called Quest)???

    That’s really stupid.

    Your article is stupid.

  • Mr. Clean

    Been a Dilla fan since Fantastic Vol 2. Other producers have more hits and recognition, but Dilla’s one dude who I can’t let fuckamuckas of the hook for downplaying his impact on hip-hop production. In terms of rhythms, sample chops, drum sounds, texture, no-one, NO-ONE could fuck with Dilla! Anyone doing these stutter-rhythm or un-quantized drums has been influenced by Dilla. That’s Nottz, M-Phazes, Black Milk, Khalil, Exile, Denaun Porter, and anyone else in the LA beat scene. That’s why any top-notch producer will cite Dilla as one of his top influences. Dude basically fathered a ton of styles being done today. Meka you sound like a dude who doesn’t really know shit about hip-hop production. Fuck outta here with this bullshit.

  • Prophet

    I admit that my discovery of him wasn’t until mid 2007, which is after his death, but when I started listening to his stuff, I began looking for stuff that hasn’t been heard from Dilla. After all this time, I never stopped listening to his music, and successfully found many unreleased songs from him, like 12″s and demo tapes, that type of stuff. Honestly, the only person I think ever can be as perfect as him would probably be Pete Rock, who was his mentor for his entire career.