James Dewitt Yancey (a.k.a. J Dilla, Jay Dee) left this world on the tenth of February, 2006. In his life, he founded Slum Village and produced beats for such legends as The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Common, and many more. However, The Shining is not the first Tupac gravedigger from the J Dilla archive. At the time of his death, Jay was nearing completion of this guest-filled monolith, which features top class contributions from the likes of Busta Rhymes, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Guilty Simpson, and Jaylib-collaborator Madlib. It’s not a memorial album, but, in hearing this bumpin’ future classic, you can’t help facing the fact the world lost someone truly special long before his time. Sadly, the question few in the media have asked is “why?”
Dilla died just three days after his 32nd birthday due to a heart attack caused by lupus. One in every 185 people (almost two million Americans) suffer from this disorder, yet few know what it is. Systemic lupus erthematosus works like an autoimmune cancer, where the body’s defence systems go into overdrive and start attacking vital organs, joints, blood, and/or anything else it feels like. It’s hard to detect and doesn’t get near the attention and research funding that AIDS does. Don’t let Dee’s death be for naught. Spread the word, and if you’re not willing to donate to the charity Jay’s mother founded, at least buy this CD. A portion of the sales will go to the cause.