The Rap-Up J Dilla

The Rap-Up is a weekly round-up of all things hip-hop. Check it out every Wednesday.

J-Dilla gets props In Detroit and Baltimore, Planet Asia revisits classic Biz Markie and Too $hort reworks his macking -- read on for the Rap-Up list.

J-Dilla Tribute Comes To Detroit, Baltimore

J-Dilla’s crisp, drum-driven production work for A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Slum Village and others made him one of rap’s most in-demand producers. His subsequent solo albums and instrumental projects, including the heralded “The Shining” and “Donuts,” catapulted the beatsmith into rarified air. Though the producer-rapper’s work and sound became more and more prominent in the mid-2000s, he died in 2006 due to a blood disease.

Six years after his passing, Dilla’s sound remains world famous, as evidenced by the “J Dilla Changed My Life” tour that hit three stops in the United Kingdom earlier this month. On February 10, a “Dilla Day” show featuring Busta Rhymes hits the Fillmore in Dilla’s hometown of Detroit, while on February 18, a show titled “Forever Shining” will be at The Ottobar in Baltimore. The latter date will feature a performance by Guilty Simpson and an appearance by Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey. Six years after his death, Dilla’s legacy remains strong.

Planet Asia Goes Off Remaking Biz Markie

Before he became a legendary DJ and a comic reality show star and endorsement king, Biz Markie was one of the pillars of the Golden Era of Rap. That essential period of rap is Planet Asia’s favorite, so it’s no surprise that he revisits Biz Markie’s “Biz Is Goin’ Off” for his “Leather Goose Musik” -- a high-energy collaboration with DJ Doo Wop. You can listen to the track here on

The song is lifted from the pair’s forthcoming “The Arrival” mixtape, which sets up the duo’s collaborative album, “Black Belt Theatre.” Due February 28, the album follows in the footsteps of “Pain Language,” Asia’s one-off album with DJ Muggs.

Too $hort Don’t Stop Rapping

Like the name of his first national album, Too $hort was born to mack. Since the mid-1980s, the Oakland rhymer has delivered a virtually nonstop barrage of songs about the pimp game. The OG takes a slightly new twist with “Hey,” featuring Silk-E. Culled from his forthcoming “No Trespassing” album (in stores February 28), the tune is much smoother and finds $hort taking a more respectful approach to spitting his distinctive game.

It’s a game he’s mastered and that has been appropriated by everyone from Snoop Dogg to 50 Cent, both of whom appear on “No Trespassing.” But it’s not just an old school thing. The LP also features Dom Kennedy, Rico Tha Kidd and Twista. Too $hort may be one of the most veteran game spitters, but he’s still making music that matters.

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter and check out his author page on




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