Hip-Hop producer J-Dilla passed away today (Feb. 10) due to an unspecified ailment. Early reports suggest he succumbed to kidney failure, a medical problem which arose in 2004.
J-Dilla, born James Yancey, was a member of Slum Village and worked with various Hip-Hop artists including Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest and Common's Grammy-nominated album, BE.
In 2005, rumors spread that the rapper/producer had died suddenly. Those rumors were debunked by J-Dilla's label, Stones Throw, but verified the producer did spend considerable time in the hospital. Stones Throw wasnt at liberty to confirm the death of the rapper, but Slum Village group member T-3 confirmed the unfortunate event on his MySpace web page.
Im f**ked up, my n***a just passed away, T3 posted on the website. Friends and fans posted their condolences on T3s site.
One poster said, Yo 3, hold ya head up man. I know how it is to lose someone you consider blood not just in the game, but also in just life period. I didn't even know DILLA personally, but he influenced me as producer and changed my whole life and aspect as a musician. Duke, keep your head up! His life was a blessing to many including myself. You, Elzhi, and Batin are in my prayers. We love you Dilla
In a 2004 interview with Urb Magazine, J-Dilla disclosed that he had kidney problems as a result of malnutrition.
"What happened was that the doctor told me that I'd ruptured my kidney from being too busy and being stressed out and not eating right," J-Dilla told Urb. "He told me that if I'd waited another day, I might not have made it.
"Sometimes that fixation can be a good thing and sometimes it can be bad. There'd be days when I wouldn't eat at all because I'd be in the basement working all day," said Jay Dee. "This is definitely my second chance, my wakeup call. I still love the music, but I wouldn't put it first in my life. It's family first - and then everything else."
Representatives for Stones Throw Records confirmed hearing of the death, but could not offer a confirmation.
After being the in-house producer for Slum Village, J-Dilla left the group after their first national album, Fantastic Vol. 2., which was released on the Barak label.
The rapper debuted with his solo offering, Welcome To Detroit on BBE.
After joining Stones Throw in 2003, he formed the critically acclaimed group Jaylib with producer/rapper Madlib and released the album Champion Sound.
The rapper recorded the foundation for the 45-minute instrumental album Donuts while hospitalized and in his home studio. Donuts hit stores on Feb. 7 on Stones Throw.
According to Stones Throw's website, the producer was finishing a tour, which included appearances in Melbourne, Australia tomorrow as well as dates in Montreal, Canada and San Francisco.