Continuing 6 years after Hip-Hop visionary J Dilla's death, the annual Donuts Are Forever tribute benefit is slated for this Sunday at Brooklyn Bowl (2/19). The concert includes DJ sets by TARA, Brina Payne, Ill Digitz, GETLIVE!, and returning act Parler, with producer Prince Paul and DJ Neil Armstrong headlining. Rap trio Tanya Morgan will share hosting responsibilities for the evening, following a performance Wednesday night (2/15) in iHeartDilla's "One Song" lineup at Southpaw. Tickets for the Brooklyn Bowl show are still available. Flyer below.
While "Donuts Are Forever" further solidifies itself as a tradition each year, new odes to the late maestro are still taking form. Questlove recently DJed an hour-long set for Hot 97 devised soley of J Dilla tunes, which is available for download here. The drummer also wrote an essay for XXL rhapsodizing J Dilla's singular talent, explaining his influence on Hip-Hop and his own work:
"The day after he recorded "Think Twice," for Welcome to Detroit, I look at the drum set, and I was like, "Wait, you recorded that on this?" And it was the most dingiest, dirtiest, not even second-hand. [It] looked like the Fat Albert junkyard gang drum set. Screws were missing; some of the heads were broken. Matter of fact, he didn't even use real drumsticks on "Think Twice." He used a vibraphone mallet, and he had a broken drumstick that he got some toilet paper from the bathroom, and some rubber bands. I was like, "You would rather go through this MacGuyver shit than buy new drumsticks?" He's like, "I didn't know where to get 'em this late at night; I had to make due." I was like, "Well, why did you hit the drums with the mallet?" He was like, "I didn't want the dynamic to be too aggressive. I wanted to sound muted, so I decided to play the drums with the soft cotton mallet." It looked like putting a marshmallow at the end of a toothpick [Laughs]. Next thing I know, I'm now flying to Philadelphia--I think the next week, [to work on] The Roots' Phrenology record [and] I tracked both "Quills" and "Pussy Galore" the same way. I went and got some orchestra mallets, and then I too started, just 'cause I seen how he got that sound."As per usual, Questlove DJ'd at Brooklyn Bowl last night (as he will on many more Thursdays). He's also scheduled to appear at "Bowlive" events at Brooklyn Bowl on 3/1 and 3/8.
In Detroit, J Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, organzied a "Dilla Day" concert and community celebration in the producer's hometown this past weekend (2/10-2/11). Performers for the Friday night show included Danny Brown, Busta Rhymes,, Jay Electronica, and A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg (who has a NYC show coming up), while Saturday's free event included "hands-on beat-making exhibits for children" and a preview of a short-form documentary "Rebirth in Detroit," which followed J Dilla and other local musicians and is to be released later this year. Above photos of the Fillmore marquee via jmackhh.
Aside from his tribute duties, Prince Paul is reuniting with his erstwhile collaborators De La Soul for a new album. While the group's latest creative incarnation First Serve is still underway, two new videos were uploaded to their Youtube channel last weekend teasing new material. Check out "Life is Great" and "Mr. Big Mouph II" below...
New De La Soul...