Titled Dilla Time, the project will be released under Questlove’s Two One Five Entertainment and has the full support of the late producer’s estate, which released a statement in conjunction with the news.
“The estate of James Dewitt Yancey, and its wholly-owned production entity, Pay Jay Productions, Inc., which benefits J Dilla’s two children, his younger brother, and his mother, is proud to give its blessing to an amazing project created by discerning and talented filmmakers who knew J Dilla. We trust the judgment of Ahmir, Joseph, Dan, and Scenario to elevate Dilla’s life, music, and legacy to their rightful place in the canon of music’s great innovators; and their film is the only documentary project we have endorsed.”
Based on the New York Times bestseller, Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm by Dan Charnas, the documentary is described as “part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation,” according to a press release. Questlove spoke on undertaking the endeavor of telling Dilla’s life story and highlighting his enduring impact on the musical landscape.
“Explaining musical genius is my mission. To be able to tell the world about the musician that had the most influence on me is a dream come true,” says Questlove. “Not just on me, but on an entire generation of musicians that everyone knows and loves. J Dilla was our teacher. And what he taught us was how to feel rhythm in a way we had ever felt before. I’m so honored to be a part of bringing his story to the world through this documentary.”
In addition to Questlove, Dilla Time will also be produced by Black Thought, one of his partners in Two One Five Entertainment. The film will be co-directed by Joseph Patel and Darby Wheeler.
J Dilla rose to fame during the ’90s and early aughts, producing records for acts like A Tribe Called Quest, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Common, Busta Rhymes, The Pharcyde, and more. He also gained popularity as a recording artist himself, releasing music as part of the group Slum Village, as well as multiple solo and collaborative albums.
J Dilla passed away in 2006 due to complications related to a rare blood disease. He was 30 years old at the time of his death.