2006 was a dark time for the Yancey family and only recently has J Dilla’s Mum, Maureen has been able to move forward after her sons death.

“I’ve mourned Dilla and really have just come out of mourning last year,” Yancey says. “My whole life, everything about me just got shattered.” This donation is helping her move forward. “I feel like if I’ve ever done anything right in this world, one thing was having Dilla and the next thing is giving these things to the Smithsonian,” she says. “Right now my sun is shining every day.”

Few objects were as meaningful to J Dilla as the ones donated. “He used it in probably everything he was making,” says J. Rocc, a close friend and DJ, about the synthesizer, which Moog built custom for J Dilla. “That thing was used nonstop and he was so proud of it.”

And when J Dilla became hospitalized in Los Angeles with lupus, one of the essential items he asked his mother to ship to him from Detroit was the MPC. It was with him on his deathbed, making beats until the end. “That’s the core piece to his production,” Burnside says. “It’s like the iconic thing that everybody associates him with.”

The kids worldwide will have to wait until 2016 to peep the items on display when the new National Museum of African American History and Culture construction is completed, however we predict this will become a mecca of sorts for aspiring and established beatmakers worldwide.


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