Even if you’ve never heard his name, you’ve probably heard his sound. J Dilla was a prolific hip-hop artist who collaborated with many hip-hop greats—from Questlove to Erykah Badu to Eminem. In this episode, we’re telling the story of J Dilla’s life and legacy through those that knew him best—his mother (aka Ma Dukes), James Poyser, and Frank Nitt—and some surprising objects on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Musical Cross Roads exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture tells amazing stories of African American music. Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, a neon sign from Minton’s Playhouse and Thomas Dorsey’s rehearsal piano are just some of the items you’ll find amongst J Dilla’s producing equipment. If you’d like to find out more about J Dilla’s life and legacy, the J Dilla Foundation is a great place to start as is this YouTube playlist of his most iconic beats.