Detroit Pistons Announced Retail Collaboration With Royce 5’9 To Celebrate J. Dilla

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Detroit Pistons





Retail Line Celebrating J. Dilla’s Legacy Set to Drop on 313 Day



DETROIT, MI — February 7, 2024 — The Detroit Pistons announced a retail collaboration with Grammy Award-nominated and top-rated rap lyricist Royce 5’9, celebrating the life and legacy of Detroit-born producer, songwriter, and rapper J. Dilla and his impact on music and culture. The capsule will be available for purchase on March 13 on


The announcement took place on what would have been Dilla’s 50th birthday, almost 18 years after he tragically passed away from complications from a combination of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and lupus.


Often referred to as one of, if not the greatest hip-hop producers of all time, the Pistons felt a responsibility to tell the Detroit native’s story, especially coming off the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.


“Those familiar with Dilla’s musical genius understand his impact on hip-hop but there are still so many who aren’t familiar with his legacy,” said Bilal Saeed, VP of Brand & Marketing Strategy. “The Pistons wanted to tell his story in a creative way while also continuing to shed light on the city’s impact on music around the world.”


The team was connected to Dilla’s long-time friend Frank Nitt, who introduced the Pistons to Dilla’s Estate and the family his four heirs – his daughters Ja’Mya Yancey and Ty’Monae Whitlow, his brother John “Illa J” Yancey and his mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey. From there, the project was set in motion.


“It has honestly been a long time coming,” Ja’Mya Yancey said. “I am just so glad that we were finally able to do something so major through the appropriate channels and highlight my dad in a way that was fun and exciting while respecting his estate at the same time.”

“It means a lot to see the estate and the Pistons collaboration in celebrating and continuing my father’s legacy,” Ty’Monae Whitlow said. “Seeing the love Detroit has for him and for us as a family is heartwarming.  I can’t wait to be a part of and to see what the collaboration entails.”


The collection was designed in partnership with Detroit-based rap star Royce 5’9”, who served as art director on the project. Royce and Dilla worked on several records together prior to Dilla’s passing, including “Let’s Grow.” According to Royce, this project serves to carry on Dilla’s legacy and complete their “unfinished business.”


“Dilla’s enduring legacy is a treasure that must be safeguarded at any expense,” said Royce. “It is a great honor to be responsible for curating his likeness in this exclusive merchandise drop entrusted to me by his estate and the Pistons. This campaign holds major significance not just for myself but also for the city of Detroit and the hip-hop community as a whole.”


Each piece in the capsule will pay homage to J. Dilla, his work, and his non-traditional style. Product images and details will be unveiled leading up to 313 Day, when the capsule drops and the Pistons will host the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena.


More about J. Dilla

James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J. Dilla, was a highly influential and innovative hip-hop producer and rapper from Detroit known for a groundbreaking production style. Characterized by his use of soulful samples, intricate drum patterns and the unique sense of rhythm coined as ‘Dilla Time’ in the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, Dilla gained notoriety as a member of the hip-hop trio Slum Village which led to his collaborations with artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, D’Angelo, The Roots, Common, Busta Rhymes and Erykah Badu. His groundbreaking work on projects like “Ruff Draft,” “Donuts” and his posthumously released solo album “The Diary” solidified his reputation as a singular hip-hop talent. Dilla continued to innovate popular music until his untimely death in 2006, leaving behind a legacy that influenced and continues to influence producers and artists in the hip-hop community – Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator, Kanye West – and lauded musicians from all genres including Radiohead and Four Tet. As a testament to his lasting impact on American and global music, Dilla’s custom-made Minamoog Voyager synthesizer, used to create his famous and distinctive beats, and his Akai MIDI Production Center 3000 Limited Edition, a rare piece of equipment, are housed at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture


More about Royce 5’9”

Royce 5’9”, a GRAMMY® award-nominated artist, has masterfully blended substance and style in his music career. Beyond his remarkable solo endeavors, which have sold millions of records across numerous albums and mixtapes, Royce has co-founded iconic groups like Bad Meets Evil (with Eminem), Slaughterhouse (with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Kxng Crooked), and PRhyme (with DJ Premier). Renowned for his confident wordplay and candid portrayals of life in Detroit, Royce is revered in the Hip-Hop community for his integrity and accountability. His career has garnered a devoted following and a reputation for excellence, solidifying Ryan Montgomery’s place as a stalwart figure in the industry.  His releases, the critically acclaimed The Book of Ryan (2018), and the thought-provoking GRAMMY® award nominated The Allegory (2020), have further established Royce as a cultural leader. Once considered the “best-kept secret” of Rap, he has penned award-nominated songs for numerous artists and continues to earn accolades with unwavering consistency.  Royce’s impact extends beyond music. Collaborating with Jay-Z and Roc Nation on the NFL’s “Inspire Change” initiative, he has emerged as a prominent activist. Royce recently launched the Ryan Montgomery Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering underprivileged communities through advocacy, education, and personal enrichment. Additionally, he has joined forces with long-time friend Eminem as the Director of Community Engagement and Social Justice Initiatives for The Marshall Mathers Foundation.  He most recently partnered with the Detroit Pistons as the Lead Brand and Lifestyle Curator.


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