J Dilla / Feb 7, 1974 - Feb 10, 2006

James D. Yancey aka Jay Dee aka J Dilla is one of a long lineage of Detroit musical geniuses. Both a producer and a rapper, he started Slum Village in '96, produced The Pharcyde, worked with Common, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, Janet Jackson, The Roots and many others, including producing, beatmaking, rapping and remixing. His partnership with Madlib produced the classic Champion Sound album. He is an indie rap icon, more popular in death than ever. (Not sure who did the very cool profile above, but respect!)

My personal favorite is his collage-album Donuts, here:

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