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Questlove to Executive Produce New J Dilla Documentary

'Dilla Time' will be based on Dan Charnas' best-selling book of the same name
J Dilla
(Credit: Brian “B+” Cross)

Fresh off his Oscar win for Summer of Soul, Questlove has another big music project in the works. The Roots drummer will executive produce Dilla Time, a new documentary on legendary producer J Dilla, who died at age 32 in 2006 from a rare blood disease.

Questlove’s Two One Five Entertainment is teaming with 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 J Dilla’s estate.

The film is based on Charnas’ book Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm.

In a statement, Dilla’s estate offered their endorsement of the project.

“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 will be “part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation, featuring insight from some of the most influential and innovative voices of modern music,” according to a press release.

“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. “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.”