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Publisher's Summary

This program contains examples of J Dilla's music performed in the story by drummer Nate Smith and is accompanied by a bonus PDF of maps, photos, guides, and more.

"This book is a must for everyone interested in illuminating the idea of unexplainable genius.” (QUESTLOVE)

Equal parts biography, musicology, and cultural history, Dilla Time chronicles the life and legacy of J Dilla, a musical genius who transformed the sound of popular music for the 21st century.

He wasn’t known to mainstream audiences, even though he worked with renowned acts like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu and influenced the music of superstars like Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. He died at the age of 32, and in his lifetime he never had a pop hit. Yet since his death, J Dilla has become a demigod: revered by jazz musicians and rap icons from Robert Glasper to Kendrick Lamar; memorialized in symphonies and taught at universities. And at the core of this adulation is innovation: a new kind of musical time-feel that he created on a drum machine, but one that changed the way “traditional” musicians play.

In Dilla Time, Dan Charnas chronicles the life of James DeWitt Yancey, from his gifted childhood in Detroit, to his rise as a Grammy-nominated hip-hop producer, to the rare blood disease that caused his premature death; and follows the people who kept him and his ideas alive. He also rewinds the histories of American rhythms: from the birth of soul in Dilla’s own “Motown,” to funk, techno, and disco. Here, music is a story of Black culture in America and of what happens when human and machine times are synthesized into something new. Dilla Time is a different kind of book about music, a visual experience with graphics that build those concepts step by step for fans and novices alike, teaching us to “see” and feel rhythm in a unique and enjoyable way.

Dilla’s beats, startling some people with their seeming “sloppiness,” were actually the work of a perfectionist almost spiritually devoted to his music. This is the story of the man and his machines, his family, friends, partners, and celebrity collaborators. Culled from more than 150 interviews about one of the most important and influential musical figures of the past hundred years, Dilla Time is a book as delightfully detail-oriented and unique as J Dilla’s music itself.

©2022 Dan Charnas and Jeff Peretz (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

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Only a few chapters in <3

This is the book we’ve needed. Loving the history being told here. As a person with a small record collection, drum machines, eurorack beep boops lol I am floored 😎.

This book is a must, Quest love’s “Creative Quest” book is a must, and David Byrne’s book “How Music Works” is a must. Now I need a Brian Eno Book which I will search for after I submit this review. Much Love, thanx jD

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This Book is AWESOME!!!

This is truly one of my favorite books. Amazing from beginning to end! I can't wait to listen to it again! The author Dan Charles, did a great job capturing the life of Dilla. It was thorough and entertaining from the first page til the last!!!

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Dilla lives forever

This was such an amazing read about a person who changed music forever. I knew I loved Dilla but I didn’t know the depth of his contributions to the music world. Thank you DC for putting me on. I am picturing all those late nights of research and I’m in amazement.

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Incredible

This book was so thorough and so comprehensive covering so many areas of music, not just J Dilla‘s life. That said, it truly honors his influence. The reader’s vocal performance was awesome. The integration of drums and other music as well as sound design was well appointed and well placed. I would recommend this audio book to any music enthusiast, especially hip-hop nerds. Well Done!!!!

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Essential

I am so grateful for Dan’s work here. It is carefully written and structured and I learned so much about this enigmatic and iconic producer. I put this on par with the Beastie Boys Book. Essential reading for anyone interested in modern music history.

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Phenomenal!

This was an excellent book, and probably the best audio book I've ever listened to! The narration was on point, and I could visualize everything as it was being read. I definitely plan on listening to this again.

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Unapologetically honest and deep

One of the best looks into the life of the Legend. Been a huge fan of Dilla, ATCQ, Roots, The Pharcyde, Elzhi, Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, HouseShoes, Madlib and the rest of Stone’s Throw and company…for ages. Hearing the good, bad and ugly about Dilla, his music, the science of his beats, the local Detroit history… anyone who’s a fan of this man’s work and the people who surrounded him needs to hear and read this. It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever heard. One fitting of the man himself. RIP James DeWitt Yancey J Dilla

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love it☃️☃️☃️☃️

great book it talks about the story of a legend and what happened after its an amazing read and I loved it

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SO FREAKING GOOD!

I loved everything about this book. The biography of Dilla’s musical genius. The musical history of how his sounds influence, connect and flourish thru so many of my own personal music heroes. The musicology of his beats throughout time. But most of all the celebration of all the music itself. The humanity of it. Like all of us, our hero had flaws and secrets. Yet his music changed the overall musical landscape as we know it. I just wish the music was interwoven with the well read text as I spent a ton of time going back and forth between listening to the book and pulling up the music to listen to that as it was so important for me to hear the evolution of J Dilla’s sound and story as It was laid out by the author. Either way, this was an amazing listen. Long live James Dewitt Yancey. Thank you, Dan Charnas!

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Amazing book experience of one of the greatest.

A great insight to the life, journey, and human relationships of the great J-Dilla. This book was one of my favorite experiences in a long time. Highly recommended.

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  • neil molitoris
  • 02-09-22

Anyone know where to download the pdf?

Im loving this so far but can’t find the accompanying pdf the author keeps mentioning. Any help?

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  • Elliot Bell
  • 05-24-22

WOW!

Fantastic listen! So rich with information and may insight into the life and methods of dilla. highly recommended for casual and serious fans alike.

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  • MorDan Words
  • 04-26-22

Insightful!

Closest you'll get to a drink champs style podcast and hearing directly from J Dilla himself.
His mum aka Ma Dukes sounds like some piece of work.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-16-22

it's Fan tas tic 🥳🥳🥳

brilliant 👏🏿 I enjoyed it all laughter and tears we love you J Dilla you really did change my life 💙

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-22

Great listen

Great book! Truly inspiring. Well put together. I would definitely recommend this to any aspiring producers.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-22

J Dilla Changed my Life

What a brilliant and detailed homage to a truly great and revolutionary artist. This book is not just for fans of Dilla but fans of music and creativity

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  • Eric Jerome Harper
  • 02-28-22

Brilliantly Informative, Entertaining, Respectful.

I love every minute of this. I learned so much more about Dilla I thought I already knew! The breakdown of this man's scientific methods are second to none. I can now declare myself a properly informed Dilla fan.