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Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

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If you think that rap is only background music for parties, you need to learn to listen to it more closely. This is the story of a complicated man and his machines; his family, friends, partners, and celebrity collaborators; and his undeniable legacy. Raekwon is one of the founding members of Wu-Tang Clan, and his voice and cadence are synonymous with the sound that has made the group iconic since 1991. In this book, readers witness all the masterful attention given to James Yancey’s (Dilla, Jay Dee) humanity and genius.

Among the dreamlike experiences James Yancey had since he met Q-Tip, none was so bizarre as the time that his other great hero spent several days at his house in Conant Gardens. He walked into history in 1964 when his homemade contraption unexpectedly became a sensation-suddenly everyone wanted a Moog.They could have very well produced those beats themselves, but they wanted to hear what Jay Dee would do with them. Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Michael Jackson's music and talent. With Burning Boy, celebrated novelist Paul Auster tells the extraordinary story of Stephen Crane, best known as the author of The Red Badge of Courage, who transformed American literature through an avalanche of original short stories, novellas, poems, journalism, and war reportage before his life was cut short by tuberculosis at age 28. Dan Charnas, with the help of Jeff Peretz, joins clear musical examples (and nifty rhythm charts) with sociocultural and personal narrative. equal parts biography, musical analysis and cultural history delving deep not only into Dilla’s history and music but also into the histories of rhythm and his hometown of Detroit.

His versatile flow, natural storytelling, and evocative imagery have inspired legions of fans and a new generation of rappers. As the two bandmates’ chests heaved from exertion and fury, their hair and clothing ruffled, James tried to defuse the situation.

Here, music is a story of Black culture in America and of what happens when human and machine times are synthesized into something new. Because they are the loudest and clearest elements in the beat, your ear tends to orient around them, and that makes everything else sound late or dragging. When you say that rhythm is “more bodily and less intellectual”, you are repeating a white supremacist axiom that has no basis in reality.

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