James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan. According to his obituary at NPR.org, he "was one of the music industry's most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Common."
Renowned producer Pete Rock placed J Dilla on his list of the top five producers of all time, while the editors of About.com ranked him #15 on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers. Andy Kellman of Allmusic stated that—by 2004, after being active for well over a decade as a producer—J Dilla had accomplished enough to be considered "an all-time great." J Dilla made the "Elite 8" in the search for The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time by Vibe. Also, The Source placed him on its list of the 20 greatest producers in the magazine's twenty-year history.
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