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.
And this Detroit tribute, you’re doing it actually on the anniversary of his death?
On the anniversary of his death, six years from the day he passed, the same weekday. So to me, it was a spiritual meaning behind it. And it hurts when I travel and everywhere else in the world is holding up his music and acknowledging his brilliance and mind and his hometown doesn’t even know who he is.
So I said, Maureen, it’s time for Dilla’s name to be in lights in his hometown. It’s just incredible that this little boy that spun records in Harmony Park at two-years-old turned out to be a master of music like that. But I want so much for the world to know that [music] was his true love, his only true love was music.
He never married and of course he loves and adores his daughters. He got along pretty well with moms, as well as I guess could be expected with whatever situation it was. I know he had a lot of love for a lot of people, and it would just be great to say, ‘Salute, James, you did a great job.’ That’s all I want.
All I want is [for people] to acknowledge that he did a good job and he was a good person. Kelley, I am so glad of everything that he ever did. I’m glad about every strip joint he ever went in. I’m glad about every car, truck and every dime he spent on himself, because he lived so short a time and he gave his entire being to music to share. So why not let him have something while he was here?
I’m just grateful, I’m terribly grateful, because to live, to want to do something rich, to share and to never see any of your dreams fulfilled or any desires fulfilled is a travesty.