Feb. 10, 2006: Legendary Detroit producer J. Dilla dies

J DillaOn this day in 2006, celebrated hip hop producer and city native J Dilla joins the ancestors after a long illness believed to have been lupus.

He was only 32.

Born James Dewitt Yancey, he produced tracks for a who’s who of artists including: Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, and Erykah Badu. He was also a member of Conant Garden’s own Slum Village.

Noted hip hop producer Pete Rock ranked J Dilla on his list of the top five producers of all time. J Dilla secured an “Elite 8” spot in Vibe‘s search for “The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time.”

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.