The new film, titled Dilla Time, will see the Roots drummer working alongside the influential late artist’s estate for a project described as “part biography, part musicology, and part musical meditation”.
Questlove said: “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.
“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 honoured to be a part of bringing his story to the world through this documentary.”
Dilla’s estate added: “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.”
Another forthcoming project from Questlove is a documentary about Sly Stone, which will follow “the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations.”
In a statement, Questlove said: “It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA… it’s a black musician’s blueprint… to be given the honour to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”
His directorial debut, Summer Of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), came out in 2021 and won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and a Grammy for Best Music Film. Last year, it also won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival.
Reviewing Summer Of Soul, NME wrote: “Initially, the film was going to be called ‘Black Woodstock’ – it’s still written on the clapper board in the opening shots – but Questlove thought that would be a disservice to what really happened in America in the summer of 1969. The Harlem Cultural Festival needed not just recognition, but ownership. With Summer of Soul, it finally has both.”