Inspired by the LA Weeklyâ€™s revelatory interview with Ms. Maureen Yancey a/k/a Ma Dukes, mother of deceased producer and hip hop luminary James Yancy a/k/a J Dilla, Anti-/Epitaph recording artists Solillaquists of Sound have decided to put the power of change into the hands of the people.
Solillaâ€™s â€œDeath of the Muse,â€ featuring J-Live, Chali 2na (formerly of Jurassic 5), and Ma Dukes herself, will be made available for digital purchase at http://www.insound.com/madukesdonation for a minimum donation of $2. In an effort to alleviate the grim financial situation that has been intensified by her declining health, one hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to Ms. Yancey. In addition to losing her house and taking on an insurmountable number of hospital bills while looking after Dilla in his time of illness, Ms. Yancey was also left with a difficult and estranged relationship with the current executors of her son’s estate in the wake of his passing.
â€œOur new album No More Heroes deals with the theme of heroism in a number of ways,â€ says Solilla group member/producer DiViNCi. â€œAs a musician, Dilla was my biggest hero, so when we started working on the album a year ago, we intended on dedicating select parts of it to him and donating some of the proceeds to his estate. But as news began to circulate, particularly through the LA Weeklyâ€™s article, it really made it clear that a movement needed to be started to get all of the proceeds directly in the hands of Ms. Yancey, who in our eyes is a hero who is still with us.â€
â€œThe song and albumâ€™s message is also for people to step up and become their own heroes. The best way to pay tribute to someone is to honor your life by living it to the fullest, inspired by what they did while they were alive, rather than mourning their memory,â€ DiViNCi continues. â€œAt the same time, â€˜Death of the Museâ€™ is also a tribute to Dillaâ€™s legacy â€“ a call to listeners to appreciate what youâ€™ve got while itâ€™s there, because it can be fleeting. The dignity and perseverance that Ma Dukes has exuded during these difficult times is truly its own heroic feat, and itâ€™s only right to pay homage and lend a hand to her in her time of need.â€
J Dilla emerged out of Detroitâ€™s hip hop scene in the mid-90s as one third of the group Slum Village. A gifted producer, emcee, and multi-instrumentalist, he would go on to produce songs for artists such as Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, and the Pharcyde. After a lengthy struggle with lupus that saw him in and out of the hospital for the last few years of his life, Yancey died from cardiac arrest on February 10, 2006, three days after his 32nd birthday.
Combining the fervent virtuosity of producer/MPCist DiViNCi, the rapid-fire delivery of emcee Swamburger, the soulful vocals of Alexandrah, and the spoken narrative of Tonya Combs, the Solillaquists of Sound have wowed audiences across the board as one of todayâ€™s most passionate, innovative, and dynamic Hip Hop acts. Along with the forthcoming release of their second album on Anti-/Epitaph, No More Heroes, the group members also are in the process of launching their own non-profit organization, the Solilla Center 4 Creative Kids.