Wednesday, June 25

Stop Bootlegging Dilla.

Man, this is sadder than sad. Evidently, the DIlla estate is struggling to ward off bootleggers and is facing major debt after his astronomical hospital bills and death at the early age of 32. According to an L.A. Weekly article, after his death in 2006, the man born James Yancey left behind a catalogue which cemented him in the pantheon of great producers. He also left behind what the executor of estate says is a "six-figure IRS debt and few tangible assets - save for a few hard drives of beats and a publishing deal with Universal Music."

"Ironically, as Dilla’s stock is at an all-time high, the executors of his estate have been bedeviled by a one-two punch: scrambling to pay his tab while fighting rampant Internet piracy of his material, both aimed at the ultimate goal of providing an inheritance for his two young daughters. “It’s frustrating,” says Arthur Erk, the estate’s executor and Dilla’s former business manager. “People have been cropping up left and right, trying to make money off Dilla’s name and likeness. There was something called the Dilla Foundation, which doesn’t even exist legally, yet it was trying to host charity events, claiming authorization from the estate."

Explains Erk: “The problem is that Dilla was friendly with a lot of people — many of whom I know, many of whom I don’t — and there have been dozens of bootleg situations we’ve had to expend estate cash on to shut stuff down. If we don’t, it cheapens the value of his brand. We’re trying to protect his legacy and his heirs.”

Keeping track of the wealth of Dilla beats floating around the Web is practically impossible. Most notably, Busta Rhymes released a free Dillagence mixtape last year, featuring an introduction from Dilla’s mother, a matter that Erk claims is currently in mediation. This April, the recording masters of Pay Jay, Dilla’s never-released MCA record, were illicitly leaked to the Internet, sabotaging an estate plan to rerelease them at a yet-to-be-determined date.

We’re not sure how many Dilla beats are floating around,” says Micheline Levine, Dilla’s former lawyer. “It’s been an absolute nightmare. [Erk] and I have been working without fees, and neither of us dreamed that copyright infringement would be so extensive and harmful to the estate. We’re trying to get the message out to third parties, who may in some convoluted way think they’re helping out the heirs but are really depriving them of income.”

All ya'll internetters need to read the full article and recognize. Look, we all download music. It's the day and age. But I've bought every Dilla album released. Support the artists that deserve your support. This dude literally gave his life to Hip-Hop, the least you could do it support his family and his legacy.

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