It was a magical night.
The 2nd Annual Dilla Day Detroit was a tremendous success. With thousands of attendees from around the country, Dilla Day was all about the music. A performance from Clear Soul Forces warmed up the house followed by Frank n Dank, the duo with whom Dilla made some of his greatest music. A mystical jazz performance by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson highlighted preceeded DJ sets from Houseshoes and DJ Spinna, both friends of the legendary producer. Royce Da 5'9" then took the stage performing "Let's Grow," a classic collaboration he created with Dilla for Lyricist Lounge. The headliner of the night was Talib Kweli who performed an amazing set with live instrumentation.
While the music was amazing, the vibe made the night even better. Dozens of Detroit hip-hop artists were in the room and the feeling was like a family reunion. Dilla Day 2013 was about family, the collective hip-hop family that has spawned some of Detroit's most successful artists. Ms. Maureen Yancey best known as Dilla's Ma Dukes and Big Proof's mother, Sherallene "Mama P" Holton, were both recognized for their continued work in Detroit hip-hop after the loss of their sons, who were friends, within two months of each other.
Ms. Yancey cared for her son at the end of his life in 2006 and then later publicly battled for control of his estate and the ability to pay his enormous medical bills. It was clear, by the happy glow on her face that things have finally begun to turn for the better. With the launch of Yancey Media Group and The J. Dilla Foundation, Ms. Yancey is able to support great Detroit hip-hop like that showcased on "The Rebirth of Detroit," last year and "The Lost Scrolls" this year. She is also able to encourage arts among the youth of Detroit, the day after the Dilla Day show featured a beat-making session with young people at 5e Gallery, an independently owned art gallery in the city.
With the continued support of the hip-hop and philanthropic community, Dilla Day Detroit has the potential to be one of hip-hop's first official holidays.
A dancer spins during the opening DJ set.
Talib Kweli Rocks Dilla Day Detroit 2013
Royce Da 5'9"
Ma Dukes and Mama P.