A few days ago LA Weekly ran a story entitled “Who’s Biting J Dilla’s Beats? Hip-Hop producer’s legend ascends posthumously; estate struggles to maintain control.” The by-line of this article is more accurate than the slightly misleading title, as the piece reveals the saddened situation of the declining J Dilla estate, struggling under the weight of hefty medical bills Dilla left behind, along with serious tax debt (due to his expensive health costs). For more, see after the click.
In an attempt to curb copyright infringement, Arthur Erk, the estate’s executor and Dilla’s former business manager, has launched a full-on attack on all Dilla bootlegs stating “If we don’t, it cheapens the value of his brand. We’re trying to protect his legacy and his heirs.” However, as one may imagine, the task of policing the use of Dilla’s beats is a daunting one, especially given the age of the internet. The essential message of Erk’s mission is that all the unauthorized use of Dilla beats is depriving the estate of income to pay off Dilla’s expenses, and provide a future for his children. Hopefully those leaking all unauthorized Dilla material will read this article and take heed; it isn’t helping keep his name alive to do so, it’s hurting his legacy.