Hip-hop heads showed up to a sold-out show at the Black Cat to pay tribute to the legendary producer J. Dilla. Since Dilla’s death in 2006 after complications from lupus, I’ve been to many Dilla tribute shows. This one at the Black Cat last Friday felt the most genuine, the most organic. Local acts from D.C. and Baltimore accompanied by the live band J Laine & the Players covered Dilla hits produced for such acts as Pharcyde, Mos Def and Slum Village. Local artist included familiar names such as the lovely Alison Carney and W. Ellington Felton.
Doors opened at 10 p.m. and Talib Kweli hit the stage sharply at 12 midnight. Kweli’s set was short and he often stumbled on his verses, as if he were spitting these classic bars over Dilla blessed beats for the first time. Dilla’s mom, affectionately known in the hip-hop community as Ma’ Dukes sat on the stage for most of the show bobbing her head to her late sons music. A great night for D.C. hip-hop, Dilla was definitely in the building.
Also posted at ReadysetDC.