Karriem Riggins | Detroit Producer J Dilla Could Be Jazz’s Great Innovators
J Dilla, the visionary hip-hop producer, may not have found mainstream success during his short life, but his influence on hip-hop’s evolution has been profound. Seven years after his death, J Dilla is recognized as a major inflection point in hip-hop’s evolutionary tree. His ability to play with texture, tone, and the malleability of samples marked a departure from traditional hip-hop norms. While his impact on hip-hop is well-documented, J Dilla’s influence extends beyond the genre into contemporary jazz. Since his passing, his legacy has played a significant role in reconnecting jazz with modern popular music. For many, he stands alongside jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Miles Davis. Inspiring this remake by legendary drummer Karriem Riggins.
What sets J Dilla apart is his role as a human musical encyclopedia. His studio was filled with thousands of vinyl records, especially jazz, sorted meticulously for easy access. He wasn’t just a collector; he could play multiple instruments, including the guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard. His meticulous approach involved extracting split-second clips from albums for specific timbres, textures, or drum hits.
J Dilla’s influence on rhythm, especially his distinctive drumbeats, is another factor that resonates with jazz musicians. Unlike many beatmakers who used quantizing for perfect subdivisions, Dilla preferred playing beats by hand, infusing them with a rhythmic sway and a languorous feel. This approach broke down the rigidity of traditional hip-hop, introducing a new paradigm that resonated with jazz’s swing rhythm. Born James Dewitt Yancey in 1974, J Dilla grew up in Detroit, showing early musical prowess. His collaborations with artists like A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, and D’Angelo marked him as a producer of exceptional talent. His work on albums like “Fantastic, Vol. 2,” “Mama’s Gun,” and “Voodoo” helped define a new subgenre—neo-soul.
J Dallas’s crowning accomplishment, “Donuts” was re-released on wax in 2013. Also released by Fatbeats “Lost Scrolls Vol. 1,” the first in a series of previously unreleased Dilla recordings. In Detroit on Saturday, the rapper Talib Kweli, violinist and arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and a handful of other artists performed at the second annual Dilla Day, a concert celebrating Dilla’s life work.
Karriem Riggins "J Dilla The Greatest" Remembering Detroit's Jay Dee | Vimeo Music Video Spotlight
Published in 2013: Karriem Riggins “J Dilla The Greatest”, Released by Yours Truly Creative, a Los Angeles Based Design and Story Studio Founded in 2011 by Babak Khoshnoud & Will Abramson.
J Dilla’s impact on jazz is seen as a way to reintegrate the genre with the broader discourse of contemporary culture. His ability to draw from a wide variety of material and his experimental approach likened him to a folk musician, a pied piper guiding a new generation of jazz musicians who grew up listening to hip-hop. This instrumental jazz track by Karriem Riggins is a perfect example.
Ultimately, J Dilla’s legacy is poised to be legendary, much like figures such as John Coltrane, with people talking about him in mythical and phantom-like status for years to come. His experimental spirit and ability to bridge instrumental expressionism with modern blues music have left an indelible mark on both hip-hop and jazz. The influence continues as new hip-hop producers hone their sound.
In the video above by LA media company Yours Truly, accomplished drummer and Detroit music producer Karriem Riggins puts in work at the recording studio, crafting a J Dilla instrumental tribute beat. He goes in on live drums, the Akai MPC 3000 and a host of classic hardware keyboards and synthesizers to deliver that nostalgic motor-city Jay Dee sound we all appreciate.
Hailing from Detroit, MI, Karriem Riggins is an amazing musician, music producer and Deejay. Touting a career spanning over twenty years, he makes a significant impact on the music industry with his versatile style and innovative approach to music production. He has worked with some of the biggest artists in the industry, including Common, Erykah Badu, Slum Village, as well receiving widespread recognition for his sonic contributions to the hip-hop genre. Karriem also released several critically acclaimed projects, including “Alone Together” and “Headnod Suite,” displaying his prowes as a solo artist. No matter… in the studio or on stage, Karriem Riggins continues to push the envelope of music production and inspire a new generation of beat-makers.
Micro Chop Beat Maker Tip: One way to create unique and compelling tracks is by experimenting with micro-chop arrangements, to optimize the melody buildup. By carefully selecting the progression of soulful sample chops, you can create amazing arrangements and transitions. Explore different melodic elements of the sample to create unique and interesting rearrangements. Big Noise MPC offers producers various Digital Downloads, soulful sound libraries and Drum Kits to help find complementary sounds. Remember, developing a strong sense of rhythm and groove takes practice and experimentation. Trust your ears and keep refining your beats.