J Dilla’s Mom, Ma Dukes, Speaks On Her Son’s Legacy, Estate & New Album

    Earlier this year, we saw footage of artists such as Boldy James and Chuck Inglish working on the planned new J Dilla album, The Rebirth of Detroit. And while we might not know when it’s set to drop, the late producer’s mother has come forward to shed some light on the project.

    In an interview with Complex, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey explained the importance of Rebirth and how it’s going to be strictly for Detroit artists. She also said we can expect another project like this featuring artists from other cities:

    So this project is going to be all Detroit artists?

    All Detroit artists. Listen, we got so many artists that came forth, so we had to say, “Whoa, this is too many for an EP, we’re gonna have to make it a series.” So it will be a series. The artists that he already worked with that are not Detroiters, they hit me up wanting to know, “Well, what’s up with this, Ma Dukes? You didn’t call me. I would do this.”

    I said, “We’re doing this first one with Detroit artists because it’s for Detroit. It’s rebirthing our city and taking back what we own and possess, which is a beautiful thing, and I think the world should know that we still got it and we are cohesive and what we need to be. We can come together and do these things.” So that’s really the whole purpose: to heal the attitudes, to come together and show what we have bright and glamorous in all aspects of music and then we have the artistry to go along with it.

    So we have that and the first release will be all Detroiters and the second release will be still some Detroiters, because we’re not leaving anybody behind, so they’re satisfied as long as they get to get out the gate and then there will be a few that will be probably people like Talib and different ones will be outside Detroit.

    Additionally, Ma Dukes talks about all the legal bullshit that surrounded J Dilla’s estate after he died, including the lies that he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and the fact that his family hasn’t seen ANY royalties from his work.

    So what did he actually owe in taxes?

    Well I don’t have the end result, round figure, because they were working on the last two years in the summer…I haven’t heard anything. [But] I’m pretty sure that it’ll be something good.

    Not $700,000?

    No, not even a minute amount of that. The only thing to worry about would be still pending medical expenses. But just the revenue from any mechanical royalties or any beats that were sold or licensed over the past years up until his passing or even after, none of the family or anybody has gotten a dime.

    So you still haven’t gotten the money?

    Oh no. But the process is…I don’t care if I don’t, as long as everything is smooth and fresh—and that’s where we’re at now. We’re moving forward now and we had hoped to be free and clear by the end of the summer, but you know how things go. It’ll be like, “Yay!” So excited.

    You can read the remainder of the interview, which is just great, at Complex.