On February 10, 2006, James Dewitt Yancey, also known as J Dilla, died.
He had suffered from health problems for much of his life. And he was only 32 when he passed away after a heart attack caused by a rare blood disorder.
But in that short time, Dilla established himself among rap and hip-hop's greatest producers, working with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, MF Doom, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Slum Village, The Pharcyde, Madlib, Common, and many others.
Now, every year, the hip-hop community convenes in his honor and memory for a holiday called Dilla Day.
Organized in part by Dilla's mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, and celebrating his February 7 birthday, the festivities began as a single-day party in the producer's hometown of Detroit.
As time passed, though, Dilla Day became J Dilla Weekend while spreading to cities all across the U.S. and the world.
"It was remarkable that he first got that day," Ma Dukes told Crossfade last year. "Now it's global, and it's mind blowing, and that's not to mention the fact that it seems to last longer every year. It's turning into a couple months!"
Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, with J Dilla gear that's been donated to the Smithsonian.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Hip-Hop DJs of All Time
Dilla in the studio, 2003.
Photo by B+
In 2014, the 305 was just another city on the Dilla Day tour. But now "the festivities will be officially moving," a press release says, "to the warmer climates of Miami for a full weekend of Dilla events."
The J Dilla Weekend 2015 lineup has been revealed too. And it's stacked with his collaborators, from hip-hop veterans like Madlib, Talib Kweli, and Slum Village to teenage rapper Joey Bada$$, whose posthumous Dilla track, "Like Me," is only just about to drop.
Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Miami Lineup
True Jay Dee devotees should also be hyped about the producer panels, barbecues, and artist meet-and-greets.
"Dilla's music is timeless and lives in all of us," Ma Dukes says in the press release. "I expect Miami to become the icon of event holders for the Dilla legacy, and raise the bar for events globally."
Crossfade's Top Blogs
J Dilla Day Weekend 2015. Hosted by Ma Dukes. Presented by III Points, Nature Sounds, Addicted Affairs, and DNA. Thursday to Sunday, February 5 to 8. Various locations, Miami. Weekend passes cost $80.62 and single-show tickets cost $16.13 to $37.63 via squadup.com. Visit JDillaWeekend.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!