WINNER OF THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
“This book is a must for everyone interested in illuminating the idea of unexplainable genius.”
His name wasn’t known to mainstream audiences, and when he died at age thirty-two, he had never had a pop hit. Yet since his death, J Dilla has become a demigod, revered as one of the most important musical figures of the past hundred years, a genius who transformed the sound of popular music for the twenty-first century. With revelatory detail, Dan Charnas shows how, as the producer behind some of the most influential rap and R&B acts of his day, Dilla created a new kind of musical time-feel. Dilla and
his drum machine reinvented the way musicians play.
Equal parts biography, musicology, and cultural history, Dilla Time chronicles the life and legacy of James Dewitt Yancey, from his Detroit childhood to his rise as a sought-after hip-hop producer, to the rare blood disease that caused his premature death. This is the story of a complicated man and his machines; his family, friends, partners, and celebrity collaborators; and his undeniable legacy. Based on nearly two hundred original interviews, and filled with graphics that teach us to feel and “see” the rhythm of Dilla’s beats, Dilla Time is a book as defining and unique as J Dilla’s music itself.