In honour of his 42nd birthday, it seemed only fitting to compile a list of J Dilla‘s 11 choicest cuts. I don’t actually know when I first came across Dilla, I just know that, after a certain point, I registered that a lot of the hip-hop I was feeling had this really similar sound. It turns out that this sound came from one man: J Dilla.

Hailing from motor city, Detroit, Dilla is arguably the greatest producer within hip-hop history. He helped change the way samples were used within music, and took the foundation that hip-hop was based on to a level so high my words simply can’t and won’t do it justice.

Another legend unfortunately taken before his time, here are his top 11 cuts…

1. Proof – Life

Proof (R.I.P) was one of Eminem’s closest friends, and a damn good MC. This is my favourite track of his and easily one of my favourite beats ever, period.

2. The Pharcyde – Runnin’

It was a hard choice between this and Drop, but this is more my personal favourite. The Pharcyde were great on this beat and it’s yet again one of my favourites.

3. J-Dilla – Dreamy

The title says it all: the perfect track to end your day on; one of hip-hop’s best lullabies.

4. Slum Village – The Look Of Love

I can’t make a Dilla list without including a few joints from his group, Slum Village; one of the best hip-hop groups of all time, easily.

5. De La Soul – Stakes Is High

The title track of the great album where, surprisingly, De La didn’t work with Prince Paul. This is a great beat, and reagtures on Bboy Roxrite’s DVD.

6. J Dilla – In Space

I really like this one, and feel like I’ve heard someone rhyme over this elsewhere too.

7. Dwele – Dime Piece (Remix)

Dwele is one of my favourite singers and is truly underrated in my opinion. This was an incredible track off Dilla’s album, The Shining.

8. J Dilla – Purple

My favourite colour is purple, so there was no way this track wasn’t going to make it in. Also, check out the original track by Crustation; you’ll really appreciate how Dilla switched this up when he sampled it.

9. Common – Nag Champa

Here’s the second, and you actually hear Dilla singing on this one..

10. J. Dilla – Waves

These next two are from the Donuts album, two of my favourites.

11. J. Dilla – Doo Doo

This track is anything but its name!

Now I know I missed a lot, but anyone who knows Dilla knows his catalogue is truly vast. How can I really pick just 11 out of all those classics?  One thing remains undeniable though, we can’t talk about doing any kind of list of great artists and not mention him, regardless of genre.

Let me know in the comments which tracks you would have included!

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