Maureen Yancey Talks J Dilla Estate, Says She Still Hasn't Shed A Tear Over The Loss Of Her Son

Maureen Yancey a.k.a "Ma Dukes" sits down with Complex Magazine to talk J Dilla estate, legacy, and more.

On the six-year-anniversary of her son’s death Maureen Yancey, the woman affectionately known to most in the Hip Hop community as “Ma Dukes,” sat down with Complex Magazine to speak on her son the late James “J Dilla” Yancey as well as the arduous process of regaining Dilla’s estate.

Yancey revealed that part of the problem with gaining control of the estate lied with Arty Erk, J Dilla’s former accountant and estate executor.

“He [Arty Erk] explained to me that it wasn’t something to worry about. It didn’t sound like anybody that had anything against me,” said Yancey. “I didn’t start feeling that way until after Dilla passed and my household was upside down and I couldn’t get help. So then I began to see a side of a person that I wasn’t used to dealing with.”

Later in the interview Yancey went on to explain that with a little financial help from Stones Throw Records rapper Egon and the support of a new attorney her estate woes began to slowly diminish.

“The guys knew that I was in a kind of bad situation dealing with him [Arty Erk], so I didn’t have my own attorney and I had no way of getting one, so Egon took his own savings and got me an attorney…He paid with his savings and got me an attorney,” Yancey explained. “He got somebody who was really good, because he knew that I was up against somebody that was fighting against me. He said, ‘It’s not right, Ma.’ He said, That’s your son and you should be represented well.’”

Although Yancey is now the lead executor of J Dilla’s estate, she has yet to receive any money from the estate and is still working on sorting out a few past tax issues.

Lastly, when asked if she has yet to shed a tear yet for the loss of her son Yancey explained that although she hasn’t, she’s too concerned with being “excited about his life” to do so. 

“I’m so excited about his life. It’s such a celebration. How can you cry when you live to brighten the world with what he gave? I think his gift was something to brighten the world. So I’m just so super excited,” said Yancey.

RELATED: Ma Dukes Remembers J Dilla, Gives Fans Thanks



  • These are Air Force 1s

    So anytime anyone connected to Detroit hip hop is struggling Em should just pick up the tab? Morons.

    • Reepacheep

      I agree with you. And Detroit emcees are vicious artists, it would be silly to say that Em is needed to give any artist coming out of there any elevation. Man, it kind of reminds me of sometime back when it almost seemed Jay Rock was almost disappointed with Cube's comments about not wanting to help the new West.

  • Anonymous

    Eminem is not responsible for D12's financial state. He hooked them before and they had a platinum album. What they do now is their call.

    • Anonymous

      well he stays crying about proof, and he wasn't taking care of proof's family up until a year or 2 ago. the guy is not bulletproof, hes a human being but he def has the means to take care of his people and he doesnt feel obligated to do so.

  • Anonymous

    Props to Egon thats a real dude right there. Certain guys are quick to call people out for hopping on the bandwagon after his death, but dont help the family out financially in anyway (knowing that Its been difficult to reclaim royalties and rights over his music).

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, PBW is mad shady. Ive seen some of his shit directly but Im not going put It out there.

    • Anonymous

      egon is a golden guy. its peanut butter wolf who is the wolf in sheeps clothing. that guy is bad news. madlib is his ticket, and he cashed in big on dilla after he died. ma dukes is a special lady.

  • honest truth

    Turn it up!!!!!!!

  • ShystyOne

    Peanut Butter Wolf is the owner of Stones Throw, from what she has said they've helped out a lot. Racist fool

  • Alf Capone

    every rapper from detroit was probably influenced by dilla in one way or another. u would think these rappers (royce, em, big sean etc.....) could come together and help this lady out

    • Anonymous

      d12 was touring all throughout eminems drug crisis taking spots anywhere they could. i don't want to throw any of the members under the bus, as they are really good guys. but proof's family wasn't being looked after financially, and d12 was hurting. again i'm not gonna mention names, but up until very recently 2009 or so, d12 didn't know what was going on and were in full blown survival mode fighting for checks to stay afloat. great guys, they wont ever slander him publically or sell for a smear piece. but em looks out for em and em only. did outsidaz dirty, did the bass brothers dirty, now royce is clinging close. anyway eminem has the money and power to clear ma dukes tab without even feeling the loss but don't expect him to do it. man of the city he is not.

    • Alf Capone

      i dont know anything about that at all as far as em and his relationship with d12. dont know if it is true or not. how do u know if it is true? not saying it is or isnt true, just wanna know how u know

    • Anonymous

      eminem is a coward, he looks out only for himself. d12 was literally starving, and hadn't been in contact with em for a long time during his drug hiatus. but detroit, and anybody who profited off of dillas music, should step up the plate and resolve the financial woes for this wonderful lady. donuts was a huge success, peanutbuter wolf got paid big money. give back, if you care, wolf.

  • Anonymous

    Never heard of him.

    • Reepacheep

      My child. Please listen to the first reply and do your research. It is IMPERATIVE that you do so...And if you're the kind of guy/gal that is open minded to stuff you haven't heard before and get excited doing so, then you will not be disappointed by Dilla.

    • Anonymous

      do some research son, its never too late to appreciate

  • Anonymous

    ma dukes seems like a lovely lady. god bless her. somebody needs to step up to the plate and help her resolve her money situation, no reason devils like peanut butter wolf should be making money off of dilla as his own mother and head of estate is not. very sad situation, beautiful lady who gave birth to a real legend. take care.

    • Alf Gang Janitor

      Na nothing wrong with PBW, him and Ma Dukes are cool. There's an interview with PBW in Complex recently, clears some stuff up.

  • SoIcyBOI

    Everyday is Dilla Happy Dilla day.

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