Label: Smokin Needles Records
Producer: DJ Rasta Roots
Released: January 20, 2014
We are super excited to deliver this amazingly emotional ode to super producer J. Dilla by A Tribe Called Quest‘s Phife Dawg. Having seen the last performance by ATKQ as the opener for Kanye West during his stop at Madison Square Garden in New York City, we were unsure of the future of this legendary MC. Although putting in a stellar effort at the Yeezus show, Phife was visibly fatigued during some of the more uptempo Tribe joints. We are happy to see that this brother is still doing it big and we definitely support.
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#dearDilla is an open letter to his long time friend and producer, the legendary j Dilla (James Dewitt Yancey), who passed away on 2006 from complications of a rare blood disorder. With a soundscape created by Dj Rasta Root, Phife talks to Dilla about the current state of music and how much he and his work are missed.
Before J Dilla passed, he and I were playing phone tag, I didnt even know he was that sick until it was too late, Phife said. We didnt realize we were both going through a lot with our health and never got to sit and talk about it together.
I felt like this song is that conversation. Ive been wanting to record a dedication to J Dilla for the longest, it just seemed to finally be the right time to do it, said Phife from his home in Oakland, CA. It was very therapeutic for me to do this. There are a lot of people dealing with renal failure and I wanted to make this a conduit, a way for people to put their health issues out there.
#dearDilla combines the drum loop that Dilla used for Slum Village’s “Hold Tight” layered with Dilla’s distinct ad-libs sprinkled through out the track. Rasta Root enlisted the help of the DMV’s own V.Rich for the beautiful keys that make up the song’s hypnotic melody and a warm bassline by Atl’s own “DETOXXX”.
“The song organically came together piece by piece. Originally I looped it up to just have a new way of mixing in that song. Then it snowballed in to what you hear today. I wanted fans of Dilla and Phife to feel right at home with this track. I am very proud of Phife for opening up like this and giving the world this musical gem.” said Rasta Root from his Atlanta home studio.
#dearDilla also has an amazing visual directed by Chicago’s own Konee Rok. They shot the video over three days in Chicago and Detroit. ‘This is the most heartfelt project I’ve ever been blessed to be a part of.’ said Konee. ‘and represents the return of honest Hip Hop.’ Of the song, Konee also adds, ‘This is not just another rap song, but meaningful music. Art. If this was my last video, I would die happy.’
The visual for #deardilla will have a premier in Atlanta on Feb. 6th at the Midtown Art Cinema (7:30-9:30pm) with a Q & A. Then also premiered at Dilla Day in Detroit on Feb. 7th.