Miles Bonny is one of the most accomplished music artists to sprout from the early-2000s Kansas City/Lawrence, KS hip hop scene. Currently living “off the grid” in New Mexico (the picture above is not a joke), Miles Bonny has not quit making music, not in the least. We recently caught up with him in an e-mail Q&A session to gather his thoughts, ideas and reflections in a “post-Dilla” music industry. The Detroit-bred producer and hip hop legend, J Dilla, passed away in February of 2006. Donate to the J Dilla Foundation.
It’s only natural to reflect on the lives of others after their passing. Why does J Dilla’s legacy leave so much to celebrate, even ten years after his death in 2006?
Miles Bonny: HIS DRUMS KNOCKED AND HE UNDERSTAND MUSIC NOTES AND GREAT COMPOSITION, as well as song writing. A Musical Genius.
Can you reflect on the first time Jay Dee (or J Dilla’s) name made a mark on you?
MB: Pharcyde and Tribe Called Quest. Joe Good showed me Slum VIllage and I followed the path since, discussing with Joc Max and many collaborators of mine.
Were you immediately hooked when you first heard Dilla’s music, or did it take time?
MB: The swing took a minute to catch onto, as a characteristic of his style, but not long to love and associate with.
What were some characteristics of Dilla’s beats that have made him so respected and such an iconic figure in hip hop?
MB: I loved his exploration into sounds and feelings not many people create with.
How has the hip hop production industry changed since Dilla’s passing in 2006? Has there been an influx of beat-makers?
MB: Yes, equipment is cheaper and everyone is computer savvy. Plus soundcloud makes people want to succeed purely on getting plays on one website, an odd way to measure quality, but such is our time.
Let’s talk about people who want to participate in the music-making aspect of hip hop, but don’t want the stage and lights in their face as a rap artist: Do you think J Dilla set a precedent and example for these kinds of characters (people who want to make music, but don’t want the stereotypical, embellished glory)?
MB: I think he was a talented musician 1st and a talented rapper 2nd, who did not seem to mind bragging, talking about sex, or the same things non-conscious rappers seemed to be stereotyped into being by peoples minds.
Looking back at his dedication to beats, what do you think are some lessons that the current beat-maker generation can absorb and move forward with?
MB: Dedication is it. Branch out and go hard.
If you could introduce someone to J Dilla’s catalogue with one track, which one would it be and why?
MB: “Players” by Slum Village. It has love, swag, and a characteristic beat of Dilla’s trademark style.
What is the best way someone can celebrate “Dilla Week”?
MB: Make music, listen to music you’ve never heard before, and don’t just jump on fads. Dilla is a person, not a t-shirt design.