Still a little stunned by this one. I suppose we can chalk this up as some minor triumph to the power of the media, at a time when the Fourth Estate isn't exactly going through its finest moment.
I'm not in the habit of running press releases in full, but I'll make the exception after the jump. If you're too lazy to click through, basically, Anti/Epitaph signed rappers, Solillaquists of Sound recruited J-Live and Chali 2Na to cut a tribute record in honor of Dilla after reading my article in the LA Weekly and the subsequent follow-up interview with Dilla's mom. The track is available for digital download at Insound for just $2. All proceeds will go to Ma Dukes, who has been sadly beset with failing health and mounting bills. If you love Dilla's music and care about the well-being of his mother, who from all accounts is a wonderful woman, may I suggest supporting the cause. Of course, I'm wildly biased, but using my most incisive critical tools, I'd have to firmly attest that this is the most awesome song in the history of awesomedom.
Inspired by the LA Weekly’s revelatory interview with Ms. Maureen Yancey a/k/a Ma Dukes, mother of deceased producer and hip hop luminary James Yancy a/k/a J Dilla, Anti-/Epitaph recording artists Solillaquists of Sound have decided to put the power of change into the hands of the people.
Solilla’s “Death of the Muse,” featuring J-Live, Chali 2na (formerly of Jurassic 5), and Ma Dukes herself, will be made available for digital purchase at http://www.insound.com/madukesdonation for a minimum donation of $2. In an effort to alleviate the grim financial situation that has been intensified by her declining health, one hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to Ms. Yancey. In addition to losing her house and taking on an insurmountable number of hospital bills while looking after Dilla in his time of illness, Ms. Yancey was also left with a difficult and estranged relationship with the current executors of her son's estate in the wake of his passing.
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“Our new album No More Heroes deals with the theme of heroism in a number of ways,” says Solilla group member/producer DiViNCi. “As a musician, Dilla was my biggest hero, so when we started working on the album a year ago, we intended on dedicating select parts of it to him and donating some of the proceeds to his estate. But as news began to circulate, particularly through the LA Weekly’s article, it really made it clear that a movement needed to be started to get all of the proceeds directly in the hands of Ms. Yancey, who in our eyes is a hero who is still with us.”
“The song and album’s message is also for people to step up and become their own heroes. The best way to pay tribute to someone is to honor your life by living it to the fullest, inspired by what they did while they were alive, rather than mourning their memory,” DiViNCi continues. “At the same time, ‘Death of the Muse’ is also a tribute to Dilla’s legacy – a call to listeners to appreciate what you’ve got while it’s there, because it can be fleeting. The dignity and perseverance that Ma Dukes has exuded during these difficult times is truly its own heroic feat, and it’s only right to pay homage and lend a hand to her in her time of need.”
J Dilla emerged out of Detroit’s hip hop scene in the mid-90s as one third of the group Slum Village. A gifted producer, emcee, and multi-instrumentalist, he would go on to produce songs for artists such as Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, and the Pharcyde. After a lengthy struggle with lupus that saw him in and out of the hospital for the last few years of his life, Yancey died from cardiac arrest on February 10, 2006, three days after his 32nd birthday.
Combining the fervent virtuosity of producer/MPCist DiViNCi, the rapid-fire delivery of emcee Swamburger, the soulful vocals of Alexandrah, and the spoken narrative of Tonya Combs, the Solillaquists of Sound have wowed audiences across the board as one of today’s most passionate, innovative, and dynamic Hip Hop acts. Along with the forthcoming release of their second album on Anti-/Epitaph, No More Heroes, the group members also are in the process of launching their own non-profit organization, the Solilla Center 4 Creative Kids.