Headed to The D this weekend for Dilla Day? You’re not alone. There are reports of people from as many as a dozen different cities converging on Detroit for the celebration of the life of legendary music producer, James “J. Dilla” Yancey. In fact, a vanload of artists and supporters will depart from Atlanta for the 12-hour trek to the Motor City on Friday (2/8) to return on Sunday.
Celebrations have been taking place across the globe but the flagship event is the 2nd Annual Dilla Day will take place on Saturday, February 9 at The Filmore in Detroit. Featuring perfomances by Talib Kweli and Royce Da 5’9″, as well as DJ sets by DJ Houseshoes, DJ Sicari, and DJ Spinna, a portion of the $20-$50 ticket proceeds will benefit The J. Dilla Foundation.
While Detroit gets a bad rap, there are actually a lot of great things to do in Motown. So, if you are headed to Detroit for Dilla Day, consider this your travel guide.
American Coney Island 114 W. Lafayette St. Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 961-7758.
The Coney Dog is the official food of Detroit. A hot dog topped with chili, onions, and mustard is the only way to enjoy the staple. With 24-hour availability, don’t be surprised if an impromptu afterparty jumps off here following the show. Featured on the Travel Channel, American Coney Island was founded in 1917 after an argument between the Keros brothers resulted in them opening rival restaurants, for the the Detroit Coney Experience, try both American and, the original, Lafayette Coney Island, located right next door.
Burn Rubber Sneaker Boutique 202 W. 4th St. Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 543-3000
Have you checked out the cool new Eminem-produced web reality series, Detroit Rubber? The series provides a funny glimpse into this popular sneaker boutique, featuring the owners, Rick Williams and Roland “RoSpit” Coit. If you like the series, you’ll love the store. Stop by Burn Rubber during Dilla Day weekend and see if you can stump the guys with your own sneaker search.
Best Historic Landmark
Hitsville USA 2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208 (313) 875-2264
While Dilla Day is all about the celebration of hip-hop, especially Detroit Hip-Hop, no trip to Detroit is complete without visiting Hitsville USA. The building where Motown Records made music for a generation is now a historic landmark, and a phenomenal museum. The current exhibit, Girl Groups: The Grit, The Glamour, The Glory celebrates the First Ladies of Motown Records.
Best Public Park
Belle Isle Park, Downtown Detroit
Considered the “Jewel of the City,” Belle Isle is the jewel in heart of most Detroiters, the 982-acre park is the largest public park in the United States. A heavily debated asset of the financially-strapped city, an effort to make the park a State park was recently defeated. While “The Island,” has attractions that are in need of repair, the view from the third-largest island in the Detroit River is beautiful with views of both Detroit and Canada.
Best Hip-Hop Stop
St. Andrews Hall and The Shelter 431 E. Congress St., Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 961-6923
For hip-hop heads, a trip and photo-op in front of St. Andrews Hall is a must. The venue was featured in 8 Mile and was the site of some of Detroit’s biggest and best rap battles. St. Andrews is best known for a hip-hop party known as Three Floors of Fun on Friday nights, but on the night prior to Dilla day (2/8), head around the corner to L!V Resto Lounge for performances from some of Atlanta’s best artists in town for the event.
Stay connected to Dilla Day on Twitter: #DillaDayDetroit