James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known as J Dilla and Jay Dee, was a producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip-hop scene in Detroit, Michigan.
Renowned producer Pete Rock placed J Dilla on his list of the top five producers of all time; 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.”
Following J Dilla’s death, the hip hop community became centered upon his music and image. Many of the artists with whom Yancey worked performed or recorded tributes, and a large group of followers voiced their support for the late musician. Yancey’s music experienced a rebirth as the producer gained many times more listeners than he had during his life, partly due to media exposure. Though several posthumous albums have been released and others are planned, the amount of unreleased recordings by the producer remain somewhat undetermined. Yancey’s estate has also been controverted.