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Producer Ta-Ku Dedicates 50 Days For Dilla

Making one beat a day in the style of the late, great J Dilla.
March 19, 2012, 4:00pm

On the sixth anniversary of J Dilla’s death, we told you about a compilation on which today’s trailblazing producers paid tribute to the godfather of the modern beat. Perth, Australia-based musician Ta-Ku is now taking the tribute to another level.

On his 50 Days For Dilla release, Ta-Ku made a new beat every day for 50 days using Dilla’s signature sampling, sequencing, and beat programming techniques. Breaking the full collection into two releases, LA-based label Huh What & Where just dropped the first volume of 50 Days For Dilla. Hear all 50 beats at the bottom.


We asked Ta-Ku a little bit about this project, and his personal connection to the late great James Dewitt Yancey, whose production style will never die because it’s engrained in every beatmaker he influenced.

The Creators Project: How did the 50 Days for Dilla concept come about?
Ta-Ku: Dilla has always been my biggest influence. Working a full time job, I always found it hard to find time to make music. Giving myself a goal of a beat a day for 50 days was a great way for me to express myself creatively. Using Dilla Dawg as my inspiration made it that much more inspiring.

In what ways did you emulate his style on the beats in this project?
I guess in each track I took inspiration from Dilla’s signature drum swing and his choice of melody changes and sample chops. Not every song from the 50 Days collection sounds like a Dilla production, but the whole project is definitely inspired by the man.

Where did you cut samples from?
All samples cut are from all the wax I’ve collected/inherited over the years.

What is it about J Dilla’s production that made him such a huge influence on yourself and other producers today?
Just the immense amount of soul he had in each track. From the chords he used to the melodies he chose to the samples he flipped—the way he chopped them. His drums were so bouncy, so crisp. Words cannot describe his music. He also has such a signature sound that anyone can recognize.

What are your three all-time favorite J Dilla beats?
A Tribe Called Quest – “Find A Way”
J Dilla feat. Common – “E=MC2”
Lucy Pearl – “Without You” (J Dilla remix)