J Dilla's Mother Speaks
Mrs. Maureen Yancey more widely known as Ma Dukes is not
one to mess with. Since Jay Dees passing in 2006 she has been the voice of the
legendary brand of J Dilla, but more importantly the link to her sons future
in our ears. Having a voice that not only speaks the mind of a woman battling
the same disease that took her sons life but also even of Dilla himself makes
her word the word in all things James
J Dilla (Jay Dee) Yancey. Although Charles Hamilton maintains he sought to contribute money from his album sales to help Ma Dukes, the fires
stay heated around the recent controversy. Mrs. Yancey took time out to speak with
AllHipHop.com to get both her wanted and needed opinion out on all things
surrounding Charles Hamilton and her son.
would you say your position is regarding any artist using your sons name and
attaching it to themselves musically?
Ma Dukes: You know what, I have been very liberal. As far as
Im concerned about it there are those who have always done music for him. And
you know I realize that were gonna have those that take music and rape the
spirit of the music and do things that they shouldnt do. I mean nobodys above
that, they do it to even the biggest people. But to do it and make it look like
you have permission to do this and that and youre in it with the family and
that its all good. I was like, What in the hell is going on? I mean Im
pretty liberal and Dilla was always relaxed about the way he did his business.
You know there were those who couldnt afford to pay Dilla and those who needed
a helping hand and couldnt afford the top scale for tracks and he adjusted
himself to help any and everybody but he did care about what a person was like
their character. He did feel he had to respect you as an individual and if he
had no respect for you then that was just out of the question. I dont think
thats being unfair, I know there are people out there that want to make it by
any means, but when you do, dont step out wrong. You first step out right, and
then you try to make your resources build upon themselves. You dont step out
you ever heard Charles Hamiltons name as a
Ma Dukes: Not ever in my life! The only Hamilton Ive ever
heard of was on the bill (laughs). When I first heard about this I was really jogging
my brain because I know I meet a lot of people but usually I lock in a name
pretty good and whenever somebody meets me and they do any type of work for his
[Dillas] production or different types of merchandising I always lock them in.
Im very free to give my number because Ill talk to anybody and I always
answer and if I cant get you you know if Im having a bad medical week or
something Ill always get back to you or text to let you know that as soon as
things get right ill get back. And I do this because thats what Im here for.
It doesnt bother me, I freely give my information out and talk to anybody in
any realm that theyre involved in. So that person [Charles Hamilton] wouldve
been able to call me straight forward if they knew me, without a doubt. So that
was the first thing Im like, Wow! How come he didnt call Ma Dukes? because
then he said he knew Illa J and it was not an hour later that Illa J called me
to ask me who he was. I was like, I dont know who he is (laughs) and he was
like, Well Ive never met him, and things like that. I was getting calls all
over the place, Pete Rock called me like early yesterday and asked me, Ma
whats going on this guy is putting your business in the streets, who is he? I
was like, Well I havent a clue! I dont know why he would do it, theres a
lot of things that have been done but hes the first, Ive got to give him
kudos (laughs) hes the first to step up and do that out the box so you know I
still dont know what to think.
made the statement, quite honestly my relationship with the Yanceys and the Holten family and their relationship with the Moore family and the Hamilton family really is nobodys business number one. Do the Holten or Moore family
ring a bell?
Ma Dukes: Dont know. Wait, you know what I know Dilla knew
a Charles Moore when he went to high school, but that was it (laughs). He was a
nice person, no pun intended, (laughs) and hes a vocalist not a producer and
matter of fact he did a track on Daddys
Little Girl, he did the Sam Cooke song.
But hes not really doing anything as far as I know and Im not sure if
hes still in Michigan or New York or somewhere. But dont know any Holtens,
dont know them. So yeah, Im at a loss. You know I couldnt forget a whole
family, maybe one individual but not a whole family, my god (laughs).
AllHipHop.com: Let me
throw another quote at you from Charles, Now if I did a séance and Dillas walking around
in my house "
Ma Dukes: Oh my goodness!
cant take away that paranormal aspect of it and Im not gonna say whether I
did that or not because then I d be crazy."
Ma Dukes: He is crazy. Quote me! Totally insane, oh my god
hes insane. I feel for him if he believes things like this. You know we all
have our experiences (out of body or in our dreams) and we believe them because
of how vividly it might have happened but to conjure up a whole scenario with
relatives and friends, (laughs) thats a really big one. He had to of been
asleep for a few days to get that together. And as far as Dilla walking around
in the house, the only house that he walks around in would be mine cause its
like a museum so I can really think that hes here and you smell the nag champa
burning because he burned that every day, everything in his house smelled like
that (laughs). So yes, hes very much alive here because we keep it that way
and we rejoice in his music and listen to it. You know, its not uncomfortable
for anybody in the house to have it playing because he was just a swell son and
brother, he was just a great person and a good Dad might I add. Hes alive here
but I dont know about anywhere else (laughs) and if he did itd probably be to
go see his kids first before anywhere else (laughs). When House Shoes told me
that my mouth dropped, I was like, Wow! And I didnt have anything to say,
and when I have a loss for words theres really something up because usually I
can go forever (laughs). He is some character, if he is creative in his music
he ought to be able to do something good without stepping on other peoples
toes. If hes even half as creative in his process of doing his music then hes
got a good product and other than that he should be writing stories. Yes, he
should be doing books, he really should.
did you think about the physical threats directed to Charles Hamilton?
Ma Dukes: Oh my God! I felt that way so what can I say? I
was like, If I can get my hands around his neck! Like I said though, dont bring
the ghetto out (of me). I dont like that part, but you know I was born and raised in
Detroit, lower east side and in the ghetto so its not prim and proper. And
hey, I got friends on every walk of life so nothing would faze me but I
wouldnt want to go into that kind of thought process cause when people do
things like that it kind of takes you out of your norm and you kind of think
about, Well, you know what should I really do? Thats not very good, the
position he put himself in. It was like a thoughtless process. Youre just
going to go step out into a black hole, and thats literally what he did from
what I saw of the responses. It was like everybody was looking at their
computer at that time. I hope he will recover from it, he better watch it
(laughs). I got like dozens and dozens of calls and they were all for the same
thing the last couple of days. Who is this guy? What in the hell is going on?
And when I told them I didnt know him they got even madder and so it was going
back and forth with the same people who were going to Twitter and just blowing
him out of the water. Thats not a good thing, if he ever wants to make it hes
got to come out of this mess first (laughs). House Shoes is like a police watch
and he [Charles] shouldve known that just about anything that goes up someone
is watching all the time. I dont think I wouldve done that on my dumbest day
(laughs) and stepped out there like that not knowing what to fall back on. I
mean at least you should be able to know what youre talking about, know who
youre talking about, before you same something. He came hardnosed like he knew
what he was talking about.
course House Shoes cleared up the comments about the J Dilla Foundation, but
what is its current status?
Ma Dukes: The J Dilla Foundation has not been up and
operating in the past year. Im bringing that back around August when I get
myself settled Ill be able to start working on it again in August so by the
end of the year it will be back up but it will be international. Im still
contemplating a name change though because of all the stuff that went around
it. Im trying to figure out if I should use one of Dillas other names like
one that has not been used before thats from his early years. So I got to talk
to my daughter about that because she has all his secrets (laughs).
next for yourself as you move on from this small bump in a far more important
road that you are traveling?
Ma Dukes: Well, Im just gonna pray that he owns up to his
own stuff and gets his stuff together before someone comes after him. If hes
releasing stuff like that and that name like that, and beats like that, then
hes setting himself up for a really big law suit if he doesnt get it right.
He needs to just maybe lay back and get it straight. Thats my advice because
Ive seen it done too many times. Some people will do it when they have no
benefit coming from it but theyll still go after him. Youve got people out
there and when youre talking about Dilla theyre not buying it. As an artist
its a bad start. I dont wish him any ill; he just needs to get it right. We
all make mistakes its just that the first remedy is to own up to it and he
hasnt done that yet. And thats silly when you dont apologize for things and dont
own up to what youve done. He has some issues to address that have nothing to
do with music. I do expect respect at the end of the day.