The lost record collection from late, great rap producer J Dilla went up for auction earlier this year after an unaware music lover stumbled upon it abandoned in a storage locker. The initially vague story has now become the subject of a new NPR documentary.
The station’s Snap Judgment programme have taken a look at the tale of one Jeff Bubeck who bought the collection not knowing who Dilla (real name: James Yancey). After finding Yancey’s name on a few tapes and pieces of post, Bubeck decided to Google the man – and it was only then that he realised how important the collection was.
Dilla, who died back in 2006, was well known for his use of samples, so finding his personal music collection would allow fans to trace back those used in his work. The emergence of unreleased material too also propelled the value of the box.
But the reaction from fans was at first one of instant backlash, Bubeck says. “What business does he have selling [J Dilla's] stuff? [People were saying] Who the hell are you?”
The documentary team also speak to Dilla’s mother, Maureen Yancey, who has been suffering financial strife since her son’s sickness and health care bills. This led to Bubeck meeting up with Mrs Yancey to hand the collection over to her. “It felt really good that the collection was back in the right hands.”
A collection of the tracks are currently being released under the title The Lost Scrolls. You can listen to the entire episode below: