More than 16 years past his untimely passing, the life and legacy of US producer, rapper, and songwriter J Dilla will be immortalised in a new documentary. As per Pitchfork, the project will feature Questlove as Executive Producer, with Summer Of Soul producer Joseph Patel and Darby Wheeler taking on co-directorial duties.
Dubbed Dilla Time, no tentative release date has been announced yet, but will be adapted from Dan Charnas’ biography of the late musician, Dilla Time: The Life And Afterlife Of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm. According to a statement, the film – which has the support of Dilla’s family – will take on a unique approach and “will be part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation”.
J Dilla – ‘Don’t Cry’
“Explaining musical genius is my mission,” Questlove said in a statement. “To be able to tell the world about the musician that had the most influence on me is a dream come true. Not just on me, but on an entire generation of musicians that everyone knows and loves.
“J Dilla was our teacher,” he added. “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.”
Born in 1974 in Detroit, Michigan, J Dilla (or James Yancey to his parents), entered the music world in the early ’90s, forming the group Slum Village which would later catch the attention of A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip. Soon, his prowess as a producer was recognised and Dilla began remixing high-profile names such as Janet Jackson, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, and more.
His unique and influential production style was later showcased on his solo work, which would be his main focus throughout the early ’00s. Ultimately, Dilla passed away in early 2006 from enduring health problems, just three days after his 32nd birthday and the release of his second studio album, Donuts.