J Dilla's Uncle Plays Forward His Memory And Songs In A Tasty Way

November 30, 2013, 3:45 PM by  Alan Stamm

A downtown donut shop being opened soon by an uncle of J Dilla is a fitting tribute to the late Detroit rapper. 

A 2006 album, Donuts, was released on his 32nd birthday -- three days before he died of complications from the immune system disease lupus. In addition to the title track, cuts include "Last Donut of the Night" (music video below), "The Donut of the Heart." "The Twister" and "Glazed."

Glazed and twister donuts will be among 20 varieties at the 800-square-foot coffeeshop and bakery planned since 2009 by former Avalon baker Herman Hayes at 242 John R in the Harmonie Park area. Its name is Dilla's Donuts and its location on the ground floor of the Ashley (formerly the Milner Hotel) also has a connection to the performer, who lived there briefly as a toddler named James Dewitt Yancey.

"“Donuts and beats are made best before sunrise," Hayes says at the shop's website. In a blog post there, he adds: "While the 'Delights' in Dilla’s Delights represent our donut products, it also represents J.Dilla’s daughters Ja’Mya & Ty-Monae." 

His upcoming shop, billed as "downtown Detroit's first handcrafted donut shoppe using 100% organic flour," also has a Facebook page. Hayes worked with .   

“I want to honor my nephew in the right way, and this is a good way to do it,” Hayes told Detroit News pop music writer Adam Graham three months ago. “Not by putting out another album, but putting a sustainable business with his name on it that I plan on being in Detroit long after I’m gone. It’s just what I can give back to him for giving us that music.”

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