J Dilla’s Minimoog Going To The Smithsonian Museum

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The J Dilla collection, donated by J Dilla’s mother, Maureen Yancey, includes his custom-made Minimoog Voyager synthesizer and his Akai MPC 3000 Limited Edition

The Smithsonian has announced the donation of significant artifacts from the family of award-winning hip-hop artist and producer, James “J Dilla” Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006).

The J Dilla collection, donated by J Dilla’s mother, Maureen Yancey, includes his custom-made Minimoog Voyager synthesizer and his Akai MPC 3000 Limited Edition, one of only 2,000 units released in 2000

j-dillaThe J Dilla collection will be part of the museum’s growing arts and entertainment collection, designed to explore how popular music helped shape the nation’s history and culture politically and socially.

J Dilla recorded more than 15 albums, and produced for a variety of artists, including A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Common, Janet Jackson, De La Soul, The Pharcyde and Busta Rhymes.

The J Dilla collection will be part of the The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, established by an Act of Congress in 2003. The museum is under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

29 thoughts on “J Dilla’s Minimoog Going To The Smithsonian Museum

    1. (via VintageSynth) “There were only 600 Signature Edition models and they listed for $3,495 each! Their unique features include: Hand-finished wood cabinet in your choice of genuine solid maple (light), cherry (honey-colored), or walnut (brown), illuminated, clear acrylic Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels, gold-plated nameplate, padded Gig Bag, 4-year warranty with two free factory tunings, and is individually inspected and signed by Bob Moog.”

      Dilla had one of these.

    1. “Kanye, look, we all think it would be better if you would just drop it. Ya-you know, I mean, ih-if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”

      1. You understand that different people like different types of music? It’s 100% subjective. So some people like Dilla and some don’t. Some people think he was influential and had something special, some don’t. You’ve let us all know your opinion.

    1. The best thing about this, is the idea of this news piece and the equipment in the Smithsonian causing more people to ask this question!

      If you are one of the people asking:

      Q: Who the F is J Dilla
      A: Listen to his F ing album Donuts!!

      1. Ok. I have never heard of J Dilla and I took your advice and listened to “Donuts”. Not my cup of tea, and it feels like I just wasted 3+ hours of my life (even though it only took 45 minutes to listen to). But, thanks anyway.

        This experience has reminded me that I (absolutely) made the correct decision (when I was 16) to stop listening to hip hop.

          1. For me, that would be 1974. This whole thing kind of reminds me of German Minimalism arising out of pretty much nothing starting in the 1950s. It eventually led to Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Daft Punk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Philip Glass, and Mike Oldfield, but it took thirty years to evolve that way. Hip-hop and all that so-called “urban” sound may evolve into something actually musical as the decades pass. As it is now, as is indicated off handedly here, it resides in the genre of “we’re young kids, we got our own new sound, we don’t need the old crap our ‘rents listen to” even if it is, in itself, sometimes a lot of crap.

    2. Yea, I sadly have to admit I’ve never heard of him either up until now. I’ll give him a go. BTW Cilly, I didn’t know his album was called Donuts, I thought you were just calling us Dilla noobs ‘Donuts’… lol.

      1. I used the word “would”, meaning if the man were still here, that’s what he would have done. The technology is now here via iOS apps to no longer be dependant on expensive hardware to create good music from start to finish:)

          1. For ten iPads (Air, unlocked, 32GB, 4G) you could get a Minimoog Voyager XL, an Ableton Push controller, and a Korg Krome 88.

        1. If spending a few grand on gear is too much for you, it sounds like you’re not that serious about music.

          There’s a reason professional musicians spend money on gear. It’s not ego, it’s not stupidity – it’s because we know the sounds we want to hear, we know how to get them and we don’t want to waste time.

          iPad apps can do a lot, but no app does what a real MPC does yet, and no app is as immediate and fun to play as a Minimoog!

          1. Funny, a lot of “professionals” use cracked desktop software and vst to make their tracks, some go for ableton even. This is a well documented fact.

            So there really is not much difference between a combination of decent apps and a desktop scenario, whereas the hardware despite being more expensive, cannot accomplish more than the software or apps.

            Many producers are using the likes of Animoog, Nave, beatmaker 2 and a few others in fully pro set ups.

            A real professional doesn’t need to hide behind big clunky expensive gear anymore and the alternative should be respected and not minimised by those who are pissed off that the same results can be accomplished on a touchscreen device:p

  1. This is great to see, musicology, Musics roots being seen and written about and valued.
    Great to see this and can’t be easy for his mother loosing him.

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