Publication Date

April 2019


Kate Galloway




English (United States)


James Dewitt Yancey, the revolutionary composer and beatmaker known as J Dilla, influenced music far beyond his immediate collaborators. This essay explores direct and indirect examples of J Dilla’s influence in contemporary groove-music by tracing a stylistic rhythmic affect known as “the Dilla feel.” The essay discusses contemporary literature on J Dilla’s rhythmic style and evaluates common understandings of musical concepts like pulse, meter, and tuplet through a J Dilla lens. Then, the essay shifts to analyses of the two main styles of emulating Dilla’s style through contemporary musical examples. It evaluates a mathematical approach against an intuitive approach and situates them within the field and within their pedagogical techniques. Finally, the essay incorporates literature and media new to the conversation, and evaluates the two styles for their strengths and weaknesses within “Dilla style drumming.”



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