When: Fri., April 15, 9 p.m. 2016
This performance is part of CIMMfest. Detroit rapper-producer J Dilla died in February 2006, just days after Stones Throw dropped his loose-limbed instrumental masterpiece Donuts, and his legend has grown to Mount Everest proportions in the years since. Music with even a whiff of Jay Dee about it remains in high demand, and his catalog has continued to swell thanks to posthumously released or discovered recordings—hell, in 2013 you could even buy a 12-inch from Dilla’s collection on eBay from his mother, Maureen Yancey. You can also get a new taste of Dilla from Slum Village, the Detroit group he cofounded in the early 90s. True, he went solo in 2001, and the only original member left is rapper T3, but the band still bears Dilla’s mark—in fact, he produced (or coproduced) nine songs on last year’s Yes! (Ne’astra Music Group). A waggish neosoul bump holds the album together, sometimes erupting into shuddering punches and sometimes relaxing into serene, sashaying grace, and the rapping complements the heft and stride of each instrumental as though they’re in conversation. The mellow, butterscotch-smooth keyboard melodies and scooting drumbeat of “Where We Come From” evokes Dilla’s lackadaisical magnetism, though Slum Village producer Young RJ contributed the beat—proof that the group remains in good hands. Tonight’s performance is part of a tribute to Jay Dee, and the lineup includes rapper-producer Black Milk, who also contributed to Yes!