PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt “J Dilla” Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. But it was also a symbolic move: PayJay was a sign that the maverick producer then known as Jay Dee would see his individual goals in music industry realized, and he would get paid in the process.
The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and is announcing its release of J Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary. The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California 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.
“Anthem” and “Trucks” were two of the songs J Dilla recorded in late 2001 and early 2002 as he put the finishing touches on what was supposed to be an album featuring his raps over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. These two tracks, however, were produced by Dilla himself.
These tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. These songs have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla’s original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla’s vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present.
Rounding out this 12″ is Dilla’s original mix of “Trucks” discovered as a two-track demo mix. We’ve included this mix as it features an alternate version of Dilla’s vocals and a third verse not found on Dilla’s final sessions for this song.
The first press of this 12″ features clear vinyl atop an original Jeff Jank sleeve with art by Mason London and placed in a thick, fold-over plastic sleeve. Subsequent runs will not have the clear vinyl or the fold-over plastic sleeve.