Detroit producer and rapper J Dilla (James Yancey, also known as Jay Dee) died of lupus in February at age 32, stunning the hip-hop nation. J Dilla kept the severity of his illness concealed from the public, and he continued to compose beats from his hospital bed. The Detroit Free Press
documented recently how he worked drum machines and turntables with swollen, numb fingers, piecing together the lush soul tracks that make up his instrumental album Donuts
, released days before he died. For the J Dilla Tribute Show
, local DJs will spin Donuts
cuts as well as the beats with which the former Slum Village member blessed A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Busta Rhymes and scores more. The real coup for fans, though, will be 46 unreleased tracks destined for future albums The Shining
and Jay Love Japan
. "That stuff eclipses any proper release of 2005," Josh Powers says. "To think about the trials that Jay Dee was going through with his illness, and to still make music of that caliber, it's amazing." Donations from this event go toward the Yancey family's expenses.