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J Dilla's beat-making gear will be shown at the Smithsonian

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Smithsonian NMAAHC

The Smithsonian is still in the midst of building the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but it just got a very high-profile boost, securing two central pieces of gear from the late and beloved producer J Dilla. According to a Smithsoanian announcement, the new museum's collection will include both Dilla's Moog synthesizer and the Akai MPC 3000 sampler that became crucial to Dilla's offbeat production style. The instruments will be part of the "Musical Crossroads" exhibit, alongside similar items from Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, and George Clinton.

Both instruments are historic in their own right. The MPC was one of only 2000 models made that year, while the Moog was one of the last devices custom-built by Dr. Robert Moog for a specific musician. Combined with Dilla's unique place in the history of hip-hop, the Smithsonian felt he was a natural fit for the exhibit. "J Dilla’s body of work is a testament to creativity and innovation, the very elements on which hip-hop was founded," said Timothy Anne Burnside, a historian who worked to build the collection.