A new documentary on the legendary Detroit producer and rapper J Dilla is in the works from executive producer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, drummer for The Roots and director of the Oscar-winning Summer of Soul.
The film is based on the book Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm by Dan Charnas. Questlove will team up once more alongside Joseph Patel, his co-producer on Summer of Soul, with a producing team of Zarah Zolhman, Shawn Gee, Tariq Trotter, Rodrigo Bascuñán, Darby Wheeler, and Anupa Mistry (both Patel and Mistry are former employees of The FADER). Patel and Wheeler will co-direct.
“Explaining musical genius is my mission," Questlove wrote in a press 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. 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.”
Dilla's estate confirmed that it has authorized the film's creation. "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.”