As part of Complex’s J Dilla Tribute Week, I interviewed this dude Brian “Raydar” Ellis, a teacher at Berklee School of Music in Boston who leads the first and only J Dilla Ensemble, where students re-interpret music from Dilla’s catalog using live instrumentation. I’ve never been the hugest Dilla fan, but I certainly respect his work and what he contributed to hip-hop, and think it’s really cool that a traditional music institution like Berklee is branching out a bit and offering courses like this to its students. Raydar and I had an interesting discussion about the J Dilla Ensemble and its inception, and what goes on inside the classroom. We also talked about what sets J Dilla apart from other legendary hip-hop producers, and his contributions to A Tribe Called Quest’s catalog. This is a must read for Dilla fans, and people who may not know enough about his greatness. Take a glimpse at the future of music education, hip-hop style!
Check out my boy J Swiss’ Dilla tribute song/video, “Geek Down,” off his This 1 Is 4 Dilla mixtape, which dropped the same day as the feature above. Swiss is doing his thing down at UNC-Chapel Hill, and still reppin’ Dobbs Ferry and the 914 heavy…
RIP J Dilla.