Phife Dawg “Dear Dilla” Music Video

Posted: February 15, 2014 by ericbernsen in Music, Songs/Videos
Tags: , , , , ,

The tributes to J Dilla have been plentiful the past week, and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has joined in the honoring of the late great producer. A couple of weeks ago Phife Dawg released the audio of his newest single titled “Dear Dilla”, a personal letter of sorts that features Phife speaking directly to his departed friend. We now have the visuals for the song and they are certainly a fitting addition as the video was filmed in Dilla’s hometown of Detroit. From a Ma Dukes appearances to Phife Dawg being tempted by a ‘Dilla Donut’, the visuals live up to the powerful meaning behind “Dear Dilla” and they properly honor his legacy. 

It is impossible to avoid nostalgia when watching the “Dear Dilla” music video as the listener is transported back to the days when A Tribe Called Quest and J Dilla were making classic music together. Phife Dawg is essentially calling out for help to J Dilla as he lyrically looks back on the “golden era” of hip-hop and how things have changed within the genre since the producers’ passing. From the scratches to the KC & The Sunshine Band break looped by DJ Rasta Root, Phife Dawg has all the proper tools at his disposal and he sounds at home on the smooth production. “Dear Dilla” could not be a better single for Phife Dawg’s upcoming solo album MUTTYMorphosis and all Dilla fans will take great pleasure in watching the music video for the track.

Watch the “Dear Dilla” music video below and let us know what you think! You can also read a detailed background summary by Phife Daw and other people involved with the making of the song/video.  

Phife’s new single #dearDilla is an open letter to his long time friend and producer, the legendary J Dilla (James Dewitt Yancey), who passed away on 2006 from complications from a rare blood disorder. With a soundscape created by DJ Rasta Root, Phife talks to Dilla about the current state of music and how much he and his work are missed.
“Before J Dilla passed, he and I were playing phone tag, I didn’t even know he was that sick until it was too late,” Phife said. “We didn’t realize we were both going through a lot with our health and never got to sit and talk about it together.”

I felt like this song is that conversation. “I’ve been wanting to record a dedication to J Dilla for the longest, it just seemed to finally be the right time to do it,” said Phife from his home in Oakland, CA. “It was very therapeutic for me to do this. There are a lot of people dealing with renal failure and I wanted to make this a conduit, a way for people to put their health issues out there.”

#dearDilla combines the drum loop that Dilla used for Slum Village’s “Hold Tight” layered with Dilla’s distinct ad-libs sprinkled through out the track. Rasta Root enlisted the help of the DMV’s own V.Rich for the beautiful keys that make up the song’s hypnotic melody and a warm bassline by Atl’s own “DETOXXX”.

“The song organically came together piece by piece. Originally I looped it up to just have a new way of mixing in that song. Then it snowballed in to what you hear today. I wanted fans of Dilla and Phife to feel right at home with this track. I am very proud of Phife for opening up like this and giving the world this musical gem.” said Rasta Root from his Atlanta home studio.

#dearDilla also has an amazing visual directed by Chicago’s own Konee Rok. They shot the video over three days in Chicago and Detroit. ‘This is the most heartfelt project I’ve ever been blessed to be a part of.’ said Konee. ‘and represents the return of honest Hip Hop.’ Of the song, Konee also adds, ‘This is not just another rap song, but meaningful music. Art. If this was my last video, I would die happy.’

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