Heres my story:
1999/2000 okayplayer tour. I was living in VA going to college. I was already hip to the old school Dilla jams at that point in the game, but then when the TOUR came through town I was all about it. A couple days before the tour was hitting my town I had to go back home to bury my grandmother. Magically I caught the tour in Cali. Thats the only memory I have of that time in my life (sadly).
2001 Family Tree Tour. BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. I went to the House of Blues and turned out to be one of few "hip hop chicks" at the spot. I knew every word to every song. Phife, Slum, Mystic, Dwele, Phat Kat...lord have mercy that show changed my life. After the show some short dude noticed me outside and came over toward me. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Malik Taylor. He wanted to know if I was coming to the show the next night in LA. I said maybe, and he said to call him if I wanted to roll with his peoples. I was still on a high from the show, and dude was wearing a hood, so it didnt even dawn on me that it was Phife Dawg til half way home. The next day I called "Malik Taylor" and grabbed a couple of my homegirls on the way out to LA to meet up with him. Once I got out on sunset (mind you Im only 20 years old) it was all like a hip hop dream. I met Dwele, T3, the new guy Elzhi, Jarobi and Rasta Root, Phat Kat and A+ and some other dudes, Baatin (who I instantly became close with) and his boys MahChurach and Zarael. oh, and a VERY young RJ Rice and Black Milk...they were like 18 or so at the time. The show was amazing, I homie'd up with everyone instantly. And once back at the hotel, I met "The Dilla" for the very first time. Sitting quietly, just observing and then smoking with Dez and some of the guys. He said he dug what I was wearing, which was a bunch of homemade ass clothes, and then offered me the blunt. lol.
2002 or 2003, I forget, I was chillin with Phife and he said we gotta go to the studio. We got in the whip and pushed out. At the studio we're listening to beats (of course I was kinda wall flowerin it, so I didnt know they were Dilla beats) and in walks the man himself. Jay Dee. My heart jumped into my throat cuz he didnt look how I thought he was gonna look this time. I was already hip to Ruff Draft (the original version) and a few other beat CDs I wasnt supposed to have at that point, but Phife gave me a Ummah CD and a tape with all sorts of treats on it.
Then over the years my friendships grew and a few diminished. I got to be super homies with Baatin, with Dwe, Phifey of course...and then got affiliated with the Roots and okayplayer n dem from there, but my heart was always waiting for the next SV show. in '05 SV did a big show at the LA House of Blues. I told my brother about it, and we got a group of friends to go. The show was dope of course, and at the end who comes out but "THE DILLA". All I remember was seeing his chains. My brother denied that it was him but couldnt deny any longer when he saw those chains. My brother's beats have never sounded the same since that night.
Honestly, Im like a junkie. Ive been to well over 75 Slum Village shows, at least 25 Common shows (sometimes 2 in one night), and a billion other shows of Jay Dee/SV affiliates. Groupie? Never. Participate. Appreciator. Lover. Family Tree member.
And to most of you who read this blog, understand this: We probably wouldnt be friends if you didnt love Dilla, and if I didnt love Dilla. House Shoes/Big Tone/TaRaach/BKyle - I wouldnt know you if it wasnt for Dilla. some of my best friends and loveliest acquaintances I owe to the mutual love of the great Jay Dee. Thank you Jay Dee. JDILLA CHANGED MY LIFE.