Born and raised the neighborhood Conant Gardens in Detroit, Michigan James Yancey was a groundbreaking producer who changed hip-hop music with his unique beats, loops and production prowess. He was the eldest of four children, including a sister, Martha, and two brothers, Earl and John; John later began making music as Illa J. Here is a video of his brother Illa J freestyling on the street in Montpellier, France that was named in J Dilla’s honor.
About thirty days after he released his final album Donuts, on February 10, 2006, J Dilla passed away at his home in LA. His mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, said that the cause was cardiac arrest. His uncle opened Dilla’s Delights, a donut shop, in his honor in the building where he was raised in Detroit.
In Summer 2012, this street was dedicated to J Dilla. It is called “Allée Jay Dee”. The city of Montpellier, France has dedicated other streets in the neighborhood to legendary artists like Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Alliyah, Amy Winehouse, and many other musicians and artists.