Fresh off a sweeping awards run for his documentary Summer of Soul, Academy Award-winning director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to executive produce Dilla Time, a new film about the brief life and pervasive–and largely uncredited–influence of music producer J Dilla.
Thompson’s Two One Five Entertainment is partnering with his Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel, New York Times bestselling author Dan Charnas, Cinetic Media, and Scenario Media to develop the documentary, which will be produced in cooperation with the estate of James Dewitt Yancey (aka J Dilla).
“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.”
Dilla Time is 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 book tells the story of the complicated life of the Detroit-born artist, who died at 32 of a rare blood disease. It also advances a crucial new theory about the seismic impact that Dilla’s time-bending manipulations of the drum machine had on modern pop music.
Dilla’s major musical contribution lives on in the memories and compositions of some of pop music’s biggest names. This includes his collaborators from hip-hop’s golden era, Questlove, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Common, and Erykah Badu, major producers such as Ye, Dr. Dre, and Pharrell, and critically acclaimed acts of a new generation like Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, and Hiatus Kaiyote.
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