James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American record producer and rapper who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan as one third of the acclaimed music group Slum Village. According to his obituary at NPR, he "was one of the music industry's most influential hip-hop artists", working with big-name acts including A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Pharcyde and Common. Yancey died in 2006 of the blood disease thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.
The original vinyl release of Ruff Draft is now out-of-print. Although the album is one of Jay Dee's lesser known works, it includes some of his most abstract and experimental work, all self-produced, and recorded in under a week. As stated in the introduction of the album, it's a noncommercial sounding lo-fi hip hop album, which sees the producer playfully toying with different styles, such as on "Nothing Like This," where his vocals are distorted and skewered over an equally eccentric production featuring a sample played backwards. The result mirrors the more off-center moments on Common's Electric Circus, which Dilla also worked on.
J Dilla released Ruff Draft in 2003 though Stones Throw Records.