Chicago rapper Common recently opened up about his relationship with late producer/rapper J Dilla and how they shared an apartment in Los Angeles.
Reflecting on Dilla, Common admitted their time together was priceless.
“Yeah, we had an apartment together in LA. It was incredible to have J Dilla in your dining room making beats–it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. I used to get really, really excited when I was getting a JD beats CD. But to have that access and see him create things live every day. There were times when he was sick and couldn’t work as much, but every time he was able to, he would work. He loved music. … One of my favorite beats that he ever did for me was “Thelonius.” I love the song “You Know What Love Is” by Slum Village.” (Interview Magazine)
He also considered what truly marked Dilla’s greatness.
“God gifted him with that talent, and then he just loved it so much–he was born to be that creative. One thing that allowed him to continue to be special was that he wasn’t controlled by the industry. He didn’t care if it was the popular rapper calling him or the label telling him they wanted something, he really did stay focused on the music. He had a unique perspective–he was brought up in the hood in Detroit, but he was into jazz music, and sampling Bobby Caldwell and people like that. He had a wide variety of information and talent.” (Interview Magazine)
Earlier this year, rap veteran Busta Rhymes told SOHH Dilla stayed in Los Angeles to make music and seek medical attention.
“He was music until the day he passed away. Seeing him in his last days, when the sickness that he was dealing with was getting the best of him, he still kept his energy up and he still was making that music, man. He was staying in L.A. at the time because he had to be close to the specialist that was treating him for his sickness and he would still come out of his crib when he couldn’t walk and he was in a wheelchair rolling around his crib because he was too weak to walk. He would roll to his equipment and still make beats as incredible as he always did. Even in his weaker state, physically, because he would never let his conditions mess up his vibe or his spirit. He was just one of those incredible dudes and that’s pretty much it. I don’t really want to get into too much more but Dilla is the greatest producer that I’ve ever met personally.” (SOHH Guest Star)
Dilla passed away from medical complications in February 2006.
Despite having to perform in a wheelchair, he was still able to tour in Europe during late 2005. Donuts, an album of instrumentals that had been completed during one of his extended hospital stays, was released on February 7, his 32nd birthday. Three days later, while staying at his Los Angeles home with his mother, he passed away, a victim of cardiac arrest. (All Music)
J Dilla reportedly suffered from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disease, and possibly lupus.
Check out a recent Common interview below: