The Diary was Dilla’s attempt to take advantage of the attention afforded him after his brightest period as a behind-the-scenes hit-maker and influencer. However, the project stalled and the album was literally shelved, the reels languishing in storage in Detroit as a relocated Dilla began a creative renaissance in Los Angeles. The Diary in this, its final form, was painstakingly assembled over a ten year period from two-track mixdowns and multi-track masters found in J Dilla’s archives after his death in 2006.
The completion of The Diary was overseen by The Estate of James Yancey’s Creative Director Eothen Alapatt, long term general manager of Stones Throw Records and A&R for Donuts and Jaylib, whose previous archival Dilla work includes the expanded Ruff Draft issue from 2008. The Estate of James Yancey is overseen by California’s Probate Court on behalf of Yancey’s four heirs – his mother, Maureen “Madukes” Yancey, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his two daughters, Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow.
Snoop Dogg, Bilal, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Karriem Riggins and others weigh in on the record nearly 15 years in the making. The Diary is out now, available on vinyl.