Academy Award-winning director and Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is back with another documentary. With critically acclaimed Summer of Soul under his belt, Questlove will executive produce Dilla Time, about the life and influence of the late music producer, James Dewitt Yancey, aka J Dilla.
“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,” Questlove said in a statement. “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.”
Dilla Time is based on the 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 book illustrates the life of the Detroit native, who died at 32 years old from a rare blood disease. The doc will be part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation, with insight from influential and creative voices of modern music.
Questlove’s Two One Five Entertainment is teaming up with Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel, Charnas, Cinetic Media, J Dilla’s estate, and Scenario Media to create the documentary. The film will be directed by Patel and Darby Wheeler.
“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,” a statement from the estate said. “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.”
This story is written by Sierra Porter