In 2003, J Dilla was better known as Jay Dee, a Detroit producer who shunned publicity but was widely respected in hip-hop; Madlib was an up-and-coming L.A. producer making a name for himself with his wild diversity, from rap (Quasimoto) to electronic jazz (Yesterdays New Quintet) to remixes (Shades of Blue, Blue Note-2003). At the time of Champion Sound's original release in late 2003, J Dilla and Madlib had never been photographed together or appeared as a group in public. In the years that followed, this changed drastically - after Dilla's move to Los Angeles, the two worked together, communicated through hip-hop beat tapes, and toured together as Jaylib. Madlib's profile rose with his MF DOOM-collab Madvillain (soundscan 93k). J Dilla, though dealing with a serious illness, continued crafting material for artists such as Common and Busta Rhymes while working on a wealth of solo material. Dilla's final albums - Donuts (Stones Throw-2006), The Shining (BBE-2006) - along with the re-issue of Ruff Draft (Stones Throw-2007) have introduced his name and music to countless new fans while publications from The Source to Rolling Stone paid respect to his musical genius.
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