J Dilla, the Detroit-area hip hop producer, would have been 40 on Friday.
On Twitter, a large number of people remembered him, born James Dewitt Yancey on Feb. 7, 1974.
“Pioneer. Visionary. Composer. Artist. Luminary. Genius. RIP J DILLA,” one wrote.
Another added: “Happy birthday J.Dilla may you rest in peace you will forever be the greatest producer to ever live.”
Said another, “R.I.P & Have A Good Birthday In Heaven J.Dilla aka Jay Dee aka Donuts!”
Dilla was described by NPR as “one of the music industry’s most influential hip-hop artists” and worked with a number of artists, including MF Doom, Madlib, and De La Soul. He’s best known as a producer for Slum Village.
He died in 2006 of the blood disease thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. He left behind two daughters.
In 2014, a new Dill album, “The Diary,” will be released.
“He was truly one of a kind,” Posdnuos with De La Soul told the Detroit News. “I always say J.D. was the Tupac of beatmaking; he has gems and jewels that are still out there to be found and to be heard.”
Posdnuos said that he first started working with Dilla on the 1996 album “Stakes is High,” saying that he was a quiet person. “He was really reserved. He would observe more than he would share,” he said.
It’s also worth noting that on Feb. 7, rapper Big Pun died and Japanese hip hop producer Nujabes–who died in a car crash several years ago–was born.