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.