I’m notorious for this. The impact of legendary artists’ deaths always hits me really late. I remember I was pursuing an interview with J Dilla, and I bought Donuts from my local Borders the day before he passed away. I remember chopping it up with Khrysis when the advance of the album had leaked a few weeks earlier, and he was clowning me for being from MI but not having a copy.

When Proof died, I never got emo about it, but it was definitely weird knowing a rapper I had met – albeit in passing at The Shelter – was gone. Same thing with Gerald Levert; I interviewed this dude on the phone, and it was candid as hell – we were clowning about new R&B cats, and talking about how real music is. Now, he’s gone.

When Michael Jackson died recently, it didn’t hit me until about 5 days afterward. I was at Whites Bar in Saginaw, Mich., when DJ Snakes played a crazy MJ tribute. Hearing this dude’s string of hits while thinking of the context – he suffered his entire life, to provide music for people like me – was overwhelming. One of the first times I got teary-eyed over someone I didn’t know personally.

I was really down the day that Baatin died, but I got better days after. But tonight, again at Whites Bar, hearing old Slum Village songs got me open. It’s AMAZING how stylistic this dude’s music was – the way he merged with instrumentals and manipulated his voice was unparalleled. Fantastic Vol. 1 and 2 are both flawless, and don’t think Dilla was the only one to make it that way. Baatin’s personality and flow was a huge part of that, and hearing such a vibrant character on wax in retrospect makes me realize how blessed we really were to have him.

Rest In Beats, ‘Tin.

  • Snakes

    Thanks for the love! Can’t wait for the P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. show.