Questlove to Executive Produce Documentary on Legendary Hip-Hop Producer J Dilla

Written by on September 22, 2022

“To be able to tell the world about the musician that had the most influence on me is a dream come true,” Oscar-winning Roots drummer says of estate-approved film

The Oscar-winning Questlove will serve as an executive producer on an upcoming documentary about J Dilla, the hip-hop producer that the Roots drummer previously proclaimed was “the music god that music gods and music experts and music lovers worship.”

Dilla Time, made in cooperation with James “J. Dilla” Yancey’s estate, will be “part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation” of the influential Detroit-born artist, who died at the age of 32 in 2006 of a rare blood disease.

“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 never felt before. I’m so honored to be a part of bringing his story to the world through this documentary.”

Questlove — whose next directorial project is a documentary about Sly Stone — will produce Dilla Time alongside Summer of Soul producer Joseph Pital and Dan Charnas, the author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm.

J Dilla, whose Donuts — released three days before his death in 2006 — was one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, collaborated with artists like MF Doom, D’Angelo, Common, and Erykah Badu in addition to inspiring an entire generation of beatmakers.

Dilla’s estate added in a statement, “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.”

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