Today’s guest blogger is Janae “Tru” Griffin, who brings us a recap of the awesomely successful J Dilla “Forever Shining” showcase. Photos are provided by our cameraman about town Reuben Greene for Dubscience Photography.
Forever Shining: Event Recap of The 8th Annual Bmore Dilla Showcase
by Janae “Tru”
If James Dewitt Yancey could have been present at the Windup Space on February 28, 2014, he would have been proud. On that night Baltimore banded together to produce pure artistry for the 8th annual “Bmore Dilla” Showcase, an event created to pay homage to the most influential hip hop producer and artist on the mainstream music scene.
Dilla (or Jay Dee) took Detroit and the world by storm with his ingenious production techniques. Known as the “master of crate digging”, Dilla has made music with the likes of Detroit’s own Slum Village, Phat Kat, Common, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, and many more.
The show opened up with a performance from Baltimore’s own Don Trunk and progressed with an array of dope showcases, including live instrumentation of a Dilla beat by the Wendel Patrick Orchestra and a sick mashup of Dilla’s tracks by the one and only Dj Minus 9. Many local artists hit the stage and expressed how their music has been influenced by the late and great Jay Dee, including Navasha Daya, Maimouna Youssef, Sean Toure, J Soul, Tislam, DDM, Dirt Platoon, B-Fly, Ab Rock, Black Root, McCracken, J Pope, Ruffmic, Awthentik, J-Funk, Ullnevano, Eze Jackson and a host of DJs paying tribute on the 1s and 2s.
Hosts Grap Luva and Civ Jones did an excellent job keeping the audience entertained. They interacted with artists on stage during their performances, popped and locked to Dilla mixes, and gave out little known facts about the great Jay Dee. J Dilla merchandise was available for sale, as well as “Dilla Donuts” provided by J Dilla’s family.
“This show is one of the best shows I’ve been to!”, said host Civ Jones. “The artists are really good, it’s really packed, a lot of people are coming out, and I’ve seen a lot of people I haven’t seen before. This is for Dilla [and] everybody that has done really great things in the music industry; we should be able to celebrate them for years.”
Other Hip hop lovers and taster makers on the Baltimore scene were present and did not hesitant to express their love for the show. “I love it, love the creativity that everybody’s bringing to the show,” said Deana Stewart, makeup artist and stylist. “We’re putting a Baltimore spin on what Dilla has brought to us all and it’s fantastic. It’s my second year coming and I love it.”
The last performance was dedicated to Detroit native and long time friend of J Dilla “Phat Kat” performing classics like “Welcome to Detroit”. “We made that song off of Welcome to Detroit in 10 minutes!” Phat Kat emphasized. The night came to a close with Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey giving a heartfelt speech about her son’s influence and the J Dilla Foundation, which raises money nationwide to keep music education programs in schools. “Life is about choices,” said Ma Dukes. “We want you to know that nothing can stop the love and support that people who really mean it give every year for children. Let’s continue to raise it up for Dilla.”
So why does Dilla’s music continue to give cause to cities across the nation in the month of February till this day?
“Because his music lives on, it doesn’t have a time frame,” explained Civ. “I can play his music from years ago, and it’s so now. It transcends generations.”