J Dilla’s MPC Included in National Museum of African American History and Culture
J Dilla is one of the most revered producers (also an underrated rapper) in hip-hop history. As such, it makes sense that his MPC will be included in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 24.
The late musician used his trusty MPC (MIDI Production Center) to craft classic projects including 2001's Welcome to Detroit, 2003's Champion Sound and 2006's Donuts. Dilla released Donuts the day of his 32nd birthday in 2006, just three days before his death due to cardiac arrest.
Dilla's people have released plenty of posthumous projects, as well. The most recent body of work was Back to the Crib, which surfaced this past August via BBE Records. The legendary producer made the mixtape some time between mid-1999 and early 2000. Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, the Doobie Brothers, Chaka Khan, Donald Byrd and Sade are just a few of the artists featured on the tape. Peter Adarkwah, the co-founder of BBE Records, shared some background info on how he got his hands on Back to the Crib.
“Towards the end of 1999 or early 2000, it was my first trip to Detroit,” Adarkwah wrote. “James (J Dilla) was working with James Poyser on Erykah’s Mama’s Gun LP. We’d checked out a couple of record stores (I can’t recall where or their names) and this tape was playing in the car. I recall ‘Think Twice’ was on the tape and I suggested there and then that he do a cover with Erykah for the BBE album. We didn’t get the Erykah feature, but people sure remember James’ cover. We drove past a sign, it said 'Welcome To Detroit,' and I suggested that would be a good name for the album. When we pulled over James gave me [Back to the Crib] and said 'This is yours,' or words to effect.”
Congratulations are in order for Dilla's family. If you're in the DMV area, be sure to check out the national mall starting Sept. 24 to see the famous MPC in real life.
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