Throwback: Black History Month/Happy Birthday J. Dilla!

Today is the 16th day of Black History Month. Over the course of the month, I’ll spend some time paying tribute to Black artists across a wide and diverse array of genres and styles. My hope is that these posts should serve as an important reminder that the Black experience is the American experience, that Black culture is American culture — and importantly, Black lives and Black art matter. You can’t love Black art and Black artists without giving a shit about Black people. 

This month won’t be a comprehensive study of Black music. It’ll be more idiosyncratic because — well, JOVM after all. Now, if you’ve been following this site, you may recall that so far I’ve paid tribute to:

J. Dilla would have turned 48 back on February 7th. We lost him tragically at the way too young age of 32 from a heart attack caused by lupus and Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disorder, often trigged by lupus.

In the years leading up to his tragic death and in the subsequent years since, Dilla has attained the sort of breathlessly beloved legend status achieved by the likes of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix among others. Much like those legends, Dilla’s work transformed how hip-hop sounds — but his work has a soulfulness and love that others don’t. Long live the king of beats!