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The Legacy Of J Dilla


Australian Premiere Presented by Groovescooter



During a lifetime that was tragically cut too short, J Dilla (aka James Yancey) profoundly influenced the hip hop world, along with neo-soul and jazz from his Detroit basement. Given his creativity, groundbreaking techniques and prolific output - which includes work with Janet Jackson, The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest and Common - recognition should have been wider and come sooner. He passed away just three days after his 32nd birthday and the release of his magnum opus ‘Donuts', but his legacy lives on. In this New York Times presented portrait of the brilliant and influential artist, exclusive material and interviews provided by his family and friends help unpack the creative mind behind the productions; specifically how he "humanised" the MPC by manipulating it like no one before him for a unique take on sampling and sequencing. Never one to seek the limelight, the self-effacing J Dilla was generous (perhaps to a fault) with his time and beats, but now for the first time on screen, his enormous gift to contemporary music and how his legacy is protected come under the spotlight.

“He used everything at his disposal and he did it better than all of us.

DJ Jazzy Jeff

“Provides personal perspectives and technical insights into [his] singular sound... But it also explores how an artist’s untimely death can complicate everything that’s left behind.”


“…A deep dive into the mindset of one of Hip Hop’s most revered creators… Artists, producers, DJs, and music analysts across the globe have been amazed by and celebrated his musical genius.”

Hype Magazine

Why You Should See This Film

This Australian Premiere for Groovescooter’s STROBE Film Festival comes direct from The New York Times and is exclusive to Golden Age Cinema in Sydney. Created as part of a larger music series, there’s no other way to see this feature-length cinema cut which played Barcelona’s InEdit Festival this year. In it, J Dilla’s own voice narrates his story via an interview with Swedish journalist Mats Nileskar, lending the film poignancy and legitimacy. With his mother Maureen Yancey joining family members John & Martha Yancey, plus artists like Raphael Saadiq, House Shoes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Black Milk, Robert Glasper and others helping to explain J Dilla's genius, there’s much to enjoy.

Esther Dere, Christopher Frierson
J Dilla, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Black Milk, Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins
70 minutes

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