DC Loves Dilla 2014, where to begin? Let's start with the fact that if you are a fan of the DC hip hop scene, then this is a must-attend event. If you are unaware, around mid-July every year, Dilla fans from all over converge in DC at the Howard Theatre for a tribute and benefit concert to the late Grammy award-winning producer/emcee who passed away from Lupus in 2006, that inspired millions with his music. His legacy can be felt all through the music world, as he has worked with artists such as Common, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and many more.
In the 2014 edition of the show, headlining acts included Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest, N'dea Davenport, formerly of the UK band, Brand New Heavies, along with Bahamadia and Pharoahe Monch. Not only does the show include legends in the game but it also blends local acts on the rise in the music scene. This year's choices were Kokayi, RA the MC, Maimouna Youssef, Awthentik, Laelo, Kaimbr, Gods'illa Asheru and Hezekiah. My personal favorite element though, would have to be the live band, known as the Players and led by Jon Laine, they truly take the show to a new atmosphere and make it an unforgettable experience. By far one of the most memorable moments of the evening had to be the announcement that the National Museum of African American History and Culture will include pieces of Dilla's production equipment. A moment so powerful that it nearly brought tears to the eyes of the audience, it really sent the message of the influence of Dilla's legacy to be recognized in an institution such as the Smithsonian.
Karmalifee received the ultimate blessing of covering the show, so with that in mind, we took in the sights, networked and even crossed paths with some of the headliners. That is what makes this experience priceless, many of the favorite acts of our youth along with Dilla's mom, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey were a part of the show as well. Since this show is homegrown, it makes it tangible in a sense of, if you work hard enough, you too can grace the stage or be a part of the mix. It was amazing to see the DMV's own run through some of our favorite Dilla classics. The performances gave you the clear indication that these songs will resonate in the ears of listeners for many years to come.