J Dilla Documentary From Questlove On the Way: "Explaining Musical Genius Is My Mission"

J Dilla Documentary From Questlove On the Way: "Explaining Musical Genius Is My Mission"

Published Thu, September 22, 2022 at 1:38 PM EDT

One of the greatest producers of all time, J Dilla, is finally going to have his story told on film. And who better to help bring it to film than Questlove? The Summer of Soul Oscar winner has signed on to bring the new documentary Dilla Time to the masses, per The Hollywood Reporter.

The film will focus on “the brief life and pervasive and largely uncredited influence of music producer, J Dilla.” Questlove will work with Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel on the doc, who will produce and co-direct with Darby Wheeler. The documentary will be based on journalist Dan Charnas' book Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm, which chronicles the prolific producer's life and unique production style that change rap forever.

"What we’ve done here is preserve the independence of the storytelling while making sure that the people Dilla loved are connected to the project in a meaningful way. Stay tuned for more news soon," Charnas said on Twitter.

Perhaps most importantly, the documentary will be produced in cooperation with Dilla's estate, which benefits his two children, younger brother and mother.

"First, Questlove had to be a part of it, because he is storyteller #1 when it comes to explaining Dilla’s genius; he really precedes us all. And second, any film had to seek the cooperation of the Estate, the only entity that represents all four of Dilla’s heirs and owns his intellectual property," Charnas explained on Twitter, adding that the estate is now cash positive and quarterly distributes payments to its four recipients.

In a statement, the estate said it was “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," the statement said.

Questlove said it's his life's mission to tell stories like Dilla's.

“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,” he 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.”

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