DETROIT — The late rapper-producer J Dilla, a big fan of doughnuts during his life, will be honored this fall when his uncle opens a store devoted to the ring-shaped cakes in his hometown of Detroit.
Herman Hayes, AKA Uncle Herm, is setting up shop in an 800-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Ashley, the former Milner Hotel, where Dilla lived briefly as a toddler.
Hayes, 58, plans to use all organic ingredients at Dilla’s Delights, which he is looking to open in October or November. He used to bring Dilla doughnuts as a child and says he is one of the reasons Dilla got hooked on the treats.
Now he sees making doughnuts in Dilla’s name as a way to honor and preserve his nephew’s memory.
“He was on his deathbed making (his final album) ‘Donuts,’ and I felt like that was partly a tribute to me,” Hayes told The Detroit News. “I felt I should honor that and respect that and give back to him.”
Dilla, who was born James Yancey and raised in Detroit, died at age 32 of complications from the immune system disease lupus in 2006.
He was a founding member of the hip-hip group Slum Village, and his soulful beats formed the backdrop to songs by artists such as Common and A Tribe Called Quest.