J Dilla is one of the most respected producers in hip-hop history. And the late legend’s legacy will now reach even more people; his MIDI Production Center will now be featured in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC; which is set to open on Sept. 24th.
Dilla used his MPC to create classic projects like 2001’s Welcome to Detroit, 2003’s Champion Sound and 2006’s Donuts–which was the last project Dilla put out himself on the day of his 32nd birthday, just three days before his death from cardiac arrest after a lengthy battle with lupus.
However, there have been several Dilla projects released posthumously including The Shining, Jay Stay Paid and Rebirth Of Detroit. Back to the Crib is most recent, a mixtape that surfaced this August via BBE Records. Reportedly, Dilla made the mixtape some time between mid-1999 and early 2000 and features music from Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, the Doobie Brothers, Chaka Khan, Donald Byrd and Sade.
Peter Adarkwah, the co-founder of BBE Records, shared some background info on how he got his hands on Back to the Crib.
“James (J Dilla) was working with James Poyser on Erykah [Badu]’s Mama’s Gun LP,” Adarkwah wrote. “We’d checked out a couple of record stores (I can’t recall where or their names) and this tape was playing in the car. I recall ‘Think Twice’ was on the tape and I suggested there and then that he do a cover with Erykah for the BBE album. We didn’t get the Erykah feature, but people sure remember James’ cover. We drove past a sign, it said ‘Welcome To Detroit,’ and I suggested that would be a good name for the album. When we pulled over James gave me [Back to the Crib] and said ‘This is yours,’ or words to effect.”
Dilla’s historical MDP will be in the “Musical Crossroads” exhibit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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