J Dilla Donuts Album Cover
For lovers of hip-hip and donuts alike, you’ve probable heard of the Detroit-born James DeWitt Yancey. But you’d know him better as John Doe, MC Silk, Jay Dee or even more famously J Dilla. Known as a wide-ranging artist and person, his love for music and donuts was deeply rooted in his bones. Dilla’s mother claims “he would bring home two dozen donuts every night after he had already eaten one [dozen]”, especially when he began dating a girl who worked at Detroit’s Dutch Girl Donuts. Working along side Busta Rymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Common, Questlove, Q Tip and more, J Dilla produced some of the biggest hits in hip-hop and rap in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Loved by his peers and family, he was humble, generous and honest which made him an anomaly in the self-absorbing music world.

J Dilla
Sadly, Yancey passed away after contracting a rare blood condition (TTP), but not without spending the last months doing what he loved, creating music. He released his final LP, Donuts, on February 7, 2006 and passed about three days later. J Dilla was truly a lover of three things according to his Uncle Herm – “Detroit, donuts, and delivering good music to any ear that was willing to hear it”. This same Uncle Herm recently opened a donut shop, Dilla’s Delights, in honor of his nephew and legendary music icon. After selling donuts to different cafes and local markets, the opening of this store was obviously the next step. The day they opened, they sold out three times within four hours. It’s obvious that people have come to honor J Dilla by supporting a local community store and grabbing a tasty treat.

Their donuts are made from 100% organic flour that are handcrafted fresh daily. Unlce Herm and the Dilla Donuts crew hope to “teach the importance of using organic products, recycling, composting and other sustainable business practices for a healthier living and working environment”. J Dilla’s cousin Herman Hayes claims, “this means the world to him…he was all about the community and family and fun”. Store manager Glenn Telton, hopes to not only honor J Dilla but empower future generations including Yancey’s two daughters.

Dilla's Delights

With flavors like Brewsters Banada Pudding and McNasty Macaroon, it’s becoming an instant hit in downtown Detroit. Located in The Ashley building which was once the Milner Hotel, apparently Dilla’s mother operated a restaurant and lived there. Open Monday-Saturday at 5 AM until sell-out, be sure the check them out if you’re in the Detroit area.