The reverence towards J Dilla since his untimely passing 10 years ago has put multiple heads in the Dilla game, with some circumventing the orbit since Dilla ‘Donuts’, and others transitioning from another era in the 90’s where as Jay Dee he had kept his head down in his work with Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Pharcyde and Common.
10 years since his passing, J Dilla’s legacy and influence as a beatmaker has ascended to a universal level across the worlds of hip-hop, jazz, electronic music but as an MC his legacy is yet to be rewritten, with the release of his shelved 2002 vocal album for MCA.
Donuts the last album from J Dilla projected a poignancy of its own coming three days after his death on February 10, 2006, when he lost his battle with a rare blood disease. 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Donuts’ and the death of Dilla, and although we were undoubtedly preparing for a new series of reissues, what we didn’t see coming was the release of his lost album ‘The Diary’.
Nas appeared live on Beats 1 to make the announcement on Zane Lowe’s show also premiering the first track from the forthcoming release of J Dilla’s lost 2002 vocal album ‘The Diary’ dropping on April 15th 2016 on Mass Appeal Records.
Initially intended for release in 2002, The Diary is the final batch of unissued material that Dilla had assembled for release during his lifetime. However, the project stalled and the album was literally shelved, the reels languishing in storage in Detroit. ‘The Diary‘ was painstakingly assembled over a ten year period from two-track mixdowns and multi-track masters found in J Dilla’s archives after his death in 2006. In a full interview with Rolling Stone, Dilla estate creative director Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, explains how Dilla created ‘The Diary’ over 8 months in Detroit, enlisting a pack of producers to contribute in creating the 14-track album with beats by Pete Rock, Madlib, Hi-Tek, Supa Dave West, Bink!, House Shoes, Nottz, and Karriem Riggins.
Listen to the “The Introduction” below;