The Choice Is Yours (2023) Movie Script

- In 3, 2...
- What's the name of this
group on this stage tonight?
Black Sheep!
- Say what?
all: Black Sheep!
- Hip-hop definitely gives us
the opportunity to blow up.
- Our special guest,
Black Sheep--
Mista Lawnge and Dres.
- Like it or not,
rap is here to stay.
It has become part
of mainstream commerce.
- And "The Choice Is Yours"--
the one that knocked the whole
country on their hip.
- That was a real record.
- You guys are so young.
- Teens making
these mega hits.
- It all stems down
to what you want
to do with your life, what
you want to do with yourself.
- Say hello.
- Hi.
- Hi.
- Hip-hop also gives us
the opportunity to implode.
- If you're doing it
for the money, stop.
- We had vision.
We had concept.
- They didn't try
to understand.
- People are people,
and people make mistakes.
- If you're doing
it for the love,
then you're on the right path.
- When I make my music, I want
people to feel what I feel
because I make
it straight from the heart.
- He's gone, but his
music is still here.
- We still talking about
him because his beats
got us still talking.
- What J Dilla is
affording me is
for the world to see exactly
what I have to say today.
And that's all I need.
- You've been given an idea.
You've been given talent.
- People would be
very unkind to you
if you take a Dilla track
and you don't make
the most out of it.
- Just because you
have something,
it might not just be yours.
- It's been 20-plus years.
- Dilla is somebody you
can't afford to mess up.
- Keep J Dilla's memory alive.
- Things become way more
complicated after you gone.
- The Mario series is
going to turn 40 next year.
- Wow.
- Pac-Man turned 40 this
year, and Donkey Kong came
out one year after Pac-Man.
- And that was Mario's
first game, right?
- Yeah, Donkey Kong
was Mario's first game.
- Thank you.
- Have a good one.
- You too.
So this is just a visual of
the guy completing the levels?
- Yeah, this is a world map.
The more levels you complete,
the longer you can go on.
- Who knew that Mario would
have such an amazing life?
Mario has been doing his thing
for a lot of years now.
In life, if you're a chef
for 25 years, you're a master.
You're a master chef.
Who invented Donkey Kong?
- Shigeru Miyamoto.
- If you played in a rock band
for 25 years,
you're a Rolling Stone.
Like, you're revered.
But in hip-hop, if you rhyme
for 25 years, you're just old.
- He originally wanted to
use characters from Popeye,
but that didn't work out.
- Oh, licensing, I'm sure.
I feel literally like one
of the luckiest people
in the world to be
an artist for 25 years.
And after, you know,
being a dad,
after taking care
of the household,
after taking care of the wife,
after everything I do to be
a person,
you know, 9:00, 10:00
at night,
I'm going to the Bronx
from Queens
to start my workday.
"You are blocking this driveway
"and making
it incredibly difficult
"to avoid hitting your rear
bumper on my way out.
"Please be mindful
that I routinely
"have to maneuver around your
vehicle to avoid impact.
"You are well over the line.
I would appreciate
your consideration."
'Cause they don't have
enough fucking room
to get out of their driveway.
Oh, God, like, New York
is just New York.
Over my career, I've
done a lot of evolving.
I think music has done
a lot of evolving as well,
for better and for worse.
And I'm not a fan of
the ageism in hip-hop.
Hip-hop is one of
the art forms where
the young eats the elders.
You know, you'll often hear,
you know, the younger cats--
Yeah, I don't mess
with them older dudes
and this, that, and the other.
And, you know, it's kind of
hard to hear sometimes.
And, you know, sometimes
reality will break
my heart a little bit.
But it's a good reason
to get up every day.
I love making music.
The hustle is definitely
a grind for me.
You know, like
I'll have a session
that starts at 9:00,
and I might be in there till
2:00, 3:00 in the morning
and be on my toes at 7:00,
7:15 to cook for my son
and get him out the house--
just spend as much time
as I can during the years
that my son does need me.
Life changes when you have
a quick rise and a quick fall
in the music industry.
That I've had success early--
I always feel like
I'm just a record away
from breaking a ceiling.
"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing."
Here's Dres and Lawnge--
Black Sheep.
Ow. Take it away.
- Make some noise!
Make some noise!
My name is Dres.
- And I am Mista Lawnge,
the 9.5er.
- Together we make up
this group called what?
- Black Sheep.
- Real hip-hop--
it inspired us.
- Talking about Black Sheep.
- Black sheep.
- Black Sheep in the house.
- Black Sheep live.
- If you're tuned in
to hip-hop history,
you have to know
who Black Sheep are.
- Did you just ask me
who was Black Sheep?
- Who's the Black Sheep?
What's the Black Sheep?
Know not who I am or when
I'm coming so you sleep
- Black Sheep was a duo that
came out in '91 comprised
of Dres and Mista Lawnge.
- Me and Lawnge, we met
in '83 in North Carolina.
We were both from New York,
but our parents
relocated for various reasons.
- Black Sheep--it was new.
It was fresh--definitely
the top of the hip-hop
world for a period of time.
- They fit really well
within a dominant level
of hip-hop sound.
- Black Sheep--
I'd be sitting next
to the radio just like this.
- Back, middle,
to the front, don't front
- Damn, Mista Lawnge
getting it in--
he was nasty with the beats.
I'm like, ooh.
- And Dres--
it's like audible silk.
- Styling is creative
Black sheep of the Native
You can't be violated
or even "decepticated"
I got brothers
in the jungle
- They were the
perfect continuation
of what Native Tongues
had already been doing.
- Native Tongue
got rhymes galore
- The Native Tongues were,
like, a conscious hip-hop
collective of various groups.
- The Native Tongues--
that's a dope fucking
name for a crew.
And their whole vibe
was very different,
and their music was banging.
The beats were banging.
- What's your first question?
- My first question--
- Listen, I did an entire
documentary about it,
so I don't want to
repeat, but game-changing
production from all of them.
- Break down
- Round and round
- Jungle Brothers, De La Soul,
Tribe Called Quest--
- Then you have Black Sheep,
Monie Love, Latifah, Chi Ali.
- It was very New York,
pushing positivity.
- Just peace,
Blackness, emceeing--
just good-spirited music.
- It was considered
smart hip-hop.
- Brothers in the jungle
- Black Sheep came in
and lived up to the fact
that they had something
dope and unique to say.
- Mista Lawnge, Dres,
Black Sheep slam now
- And presented it in
a really creative way.
- Then, of course,
the choice is yours
- "The Choice Is Yours"
was, like, a mainstream hit.
- "You can get with
this, or you can"--
Yeah, that was awesome.
I was into that.
- "The Choice Is Yours"--
gonna knock the whole country
on their hip.
- Like, use it
as a thing to say.
Like, it just became
part of vernacular.
- "The Choice"--it's
lightning in a fucking bottle
having such a
ridiculously popular song.
- Where's the black sheep?
Here's the black sheep
- Forget it.
I mean, if you want the
party to start jumping,
you just throw that on.
That's it.
- Especially in
the part where it's like,
"Engine, engine"--
- "Number nine."
- On the New York
transit line
- Everybody crouching down.
- If my train
goes off the track
Pick it up, pick it up,
pick it up
- Monster single--
all over the radio.
- And we saw them
as the first hip-hop duo
to do late-night TV.
- It was larger than life,
and it lasted forever.
- Open the door
You best believe we're
sliding through it
- He's still doing shows
because of that record.
Like, I don't really
do shows like that.
- "The Choice Is Yours,"
"Similak Child,"
"Flavor of the Month"--
I mean, a lot of people
would describe
"A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing"
as a classic album.
- Do-da-dipity
- Let me tell you, man.
All you need is
one hit, and that
was the one that guarantees
them income forever.
- "You can get with this,
or you can get with that,"
which was, like, I think,
used in commercials.
- Better yummy this
and better tasting that.
- You can get with this,
or you can get with that
- Upside--using your
song in a commercial.
Boom, chickity-check.
Downside--oh, my God.
Have you heard
the hamster song?
- You can get with this,
or you can get with that
- I remember being
on the radio
and being like,
fuck that, no.
You will not refer to
"The Choice Is Yours"
as the goddamn hamster song.
But it was a thing.
What the hell is that?
- And then that song getting
placed in the Spidey-Verse.

- Got a seven-year-old
who know that record.
You know what I'm saying?
Like, that song is like the
gift that keeps on giving.
- Also have the youth,
the drill artists,
Lola Brooke sampling
"The Choice is Yours."
- Because you ain't getting
- This or that
Man, sis, just relax
- Incredible track.
You know, what would
hip-hop be without it?
- The more things change,
the more they stay the same
- All right, I'm going to
keep that one and double it.
There's a lot of cats
that got a lot
of things going on
in their career
and legacy and whatnot.
But not a lot of people
have a "Choice Is Yours."
And, you know,
like, I don't really
harp on
what me and Lawnge did...
Okay, okay.
- As much as I harp
on what I still have to do.
And that's why this Dilla
project is so important.
So, for me, in my career,
it's just been
about staying prepared.
It's about doing the work.
It's about spreading love.
It's about, you know, not
hoarding because we do shit
despite what's against us.
You know, like,
hip-hop exists despite.
It's almost like you
were sliding through it.
- You know what I'm saying?
- All right.
It definitely
wasn't in the plans.
- Would you call your
music hard-core rap?
- I wouldn't call it hard-core.
- We painted a lot
of pictures.
We didn't draw the
pictures ourselves.
We just colored it in.
- Curse--
a lot of words
that I don't think you're
going to ever get played
on television or the radio.
- We don't really try to put it
all into distinct categories.
It's all music, and what
you do with it is personal,
and it's something that
you share with people.
You know, people have told me,
I'm not really into rap,
but your group is
all right with me.
And that's cool, you know,
because that's broadening us.
That's broadening them,
and that's helping rap.
- Beyond a beat,
a rhyme, a dance,
hip-hop music has become
this life-altering,
positive difference maker.
Like, there's so many
different working pieces now,
that a livelihood can
be found all around it.
It's the result
of imagination,
and so much rests
on the shoulders
of our elders.
- WIHD, Washington.
- In Washington.
I want to say sunny, but
you can see, there's--
- I'm here for this induction
into The Hip-Hop Museum.
You know, like, this is not
a me and Mista Lawnge thing.
This is--
I didn't hit
him up or anything.
I didn't--
Yeah, like, I'm very
grateful to Lawnge.
You know what I'm saying?
Like, you know, without
Lawnge, we're not sitting here.
I'm not sitting
here without Lawnge.
You know what I'm saying?
So I'm always--
I always keep that
in perspective.
You know what I'm saying?
And I think it took me
a while to get to the place
where I felt like
I didn't owe that situation
my loyalty anymore.
We're going to
go walk around,
check it out, take a
look around the curtain
and see what it looked
like in there real quick.
Come on, before
we go get a drink.
Black Sheep.
- Word up.
Service is in the house.
Word up.
Service in the house.
- Making hit records
can definitely be
a burden on that bad side of,
yeah, this is what
you're known for.
When people come up to
me, and they do the--
"It's just me, myself, and I."
It's just me, myself, and I
And I just want to
smack them in the face.
- I mean, yeah, you
have to keep playing
that song no matter what.
I have a saying--
You got to dance with
the ho that you brought.
This is what got
you to the party.
So when you're in the party
now, you're in a party now.
You got to dance with her now.
She brought you,
you have to dance with her.
- I don't think you're rubbing
someone the wrong way when you
say that Black Sheep
was never able to get
back to the heights of
"The Choice Is Yours."
I mean, that was basically
an impossible task.
- When you are associated
with something
that is so legendary
and then you come out of that,
you're like,
what am I supposed to do now?
- We're getting up pretty far
on the pop charts, you know,
with that single.
- Now that we found
something that's
working for us, like
"The Choice Is Yours,"
it will be easy to say, damn,
let's go, you know, make
"A Choice Is Ours,"
now or whatever, you know,
and follow it up like
everybody else would do.
But I think we'd rather
reach somewhere else.
And even if, you know, we fall
flat on our face,
at least we was trying
to be ourselves.
- They really had, like,
a four-single run
off their first album,
which is great,
and then took a few years off.
I don't know how
many people you're
going to find besides
me that will be
able to tell you the name
of their first single
off the next album.
You would think that an artist
who had a song that big--
people would at
least remember what
they came with after that.
I don't think anyone does.
The next song--
it was "Without A Doubt."
Yeah, without a doubt
- It was a cool
song, but it just--
the wind was out of the sail.
You have one-hit wonders.
You rarely have
one-album wonders.
- It's Black Sheep
with some new shit.
You know what I'm saying?
We going to keep it moving.
I know a lot of
people are saying,
yo, where's my man,
Mista Lawnge?
I'm very sad to tell you
that Mista Lawnge
has decided to leave
the group and do his own thing.
But at the end of
the day, love is love,
and I wish him the best.
And we going to keep
it moving, right?
- That's right.
- At this point, it's
been over 30 years.
I don't spend a lot
of time back there.
I have those memories
of me and Lawnge,
and we're very
congruent onstage.
And we were both able to get
where we both were trying
to go in that moment together.
Once we decided to
go our own ways,
there was no
partner to push you.
It became what
burned internally.
- Them two--whatever
kind of wedged them apart,
I don't even know what it was.
I mean, honestly, I don't.
- To this day,
I don't know why things
fell off the way they did.
- Who knows, man?
You know, I don't know.
- To me, getting
your flowers means,
like, you're close to dying.
You know what I'm saying?
Like, all right.
Hey, Ma.
- Hey, baby.
How are you?
- I'm good.
How are you?
- I'm good.
- You in your room?
- Yes.
- Okay.
All right, in a minute.
- Hey, baby.
- Hey, Mama.
How are you?
- Oh, my baby.
How you doing?
- I'm good.
How you doing?
- I'm good.
I love you.
- I love you, too.
- Wait a minute.
We're on camera now?
- We are.
- That's okay.
- We built for this.
Come on in, now.
- You look good, man.
I wouldn't believe
you were in your 70s.
- Oh, honey, 70--
Oh, let me tell you.
At the airport,
they said, 75, you don't
have to take your shoes off.
I said, I'll be here next year.
I'll be here.
And I had on boots, too.
I had on my Timbs
because the shoes
I was going to wear tonight--
they come, like, up to here.
I wasn't wearing
them in no airport.
- Oh, yeah.
You're not supposed to, Ma.
- Mm, I know.
I know.
- They come up to there?
- Yeah, but I got a long skirt.
- You are doing a lot, okay?
- Yeah, because it's you.
You worthy of it.
- I feel that.
That's love.
- Yeah.

- What's going on, man?
All right.
- All right, here we go.
All right, right now
I'm here talking
to one of the legends that's
getting inducted tonight.
- It's quite the honor.
You know what I'm saying?
I'm very grateful
to come down to DC,
especially to hang out
with some heads that
know what hip-hop is
all about, represent
the culture to the fullest.
- The reason why
The National Hip-Hop Museum
exists is because,
after holding the torch
for so many years and
accomplishing so much, it is
our obligation as Americans
to give you guys your flowers.
So right now can we get
a big round of applause
for all of our inductees--
Special Ed...
- My name is Special Ed,
and I'm a super-duper star
- CL Smooth...
- What's up, y'all? This is
the Mecca Don CL Smooth.
- Dres.
- Oh, look, y'all, it's
Dres from Black Sheep.
- So in the year of
hip-hop's birthday,
what do you feel is
the most important thing
that hip-hop has
contributed to the world
over the last five decades?
- Hip-hop is the top-generating
music genre
for how long now?
- A lot of years.
- Every corporate entity,
everything, every media,
every medium is all hip-hop.
So why the fuck they don't
respect us in the way
that they should?
They don't uphold
us like they do
these "rock and roll" legends
and soul and whatever,
We are them right now.
We are the ones selling
millions of records,
streaming millions of records.
We deserve the respect.
- Like it or not,
rap is here to stay.
It has become part
of mainstream commerce.
- Rap in the '90s--
it's creative.
It's candid.
It's controversial.
Today on the show,
we have rappers
De La Soul to discuss the
many ways to keep it real.
- With hip-hop, there's
always been big business.
But mid '90s, us, Dres, Tribe,
we could see it taking over.
- Being in this
business, there's
a lot of things
you're going to learn,
and they are screwing our love,
and our love is hip-hop.
You know, our love is rap.
So it's a learning process.
- We could see what our
label wanted us to do--
that formula
and how that single,
that one record
needed to be given.
- Hip-hop definitely gives us
the opportunity to blow up.
Hip-hop also gives us
the opportunity to implode.
- "The Choice Is Yours"--
you were young,
and did you guys do everything
right so that record that
lives today and will
live on forever does
benefit your children and
your children's children?
- Like, the deal
wasn't a fair deal...
both: Right.
- Whereas monetarily.
We didn't take a number--
- Who would know
those terms, though?
That's the crazy shit.
- These are the things that
are kind of common knowledge
that they just don't
share with you.
- Well, it's not common because
it's not being shared at all.
- Yeah, yeah.
- You know, a lot of these
guys got famous--
They're like teen stars.
As a young kid growing up
in New York City,
I loved the music.
I was a fan.
I would go to the clubs.
And you had access
to these people.
And you could see how they
got fucked over business-wise.
Of course, if you're
16, and they're like,
we're going to
give you whatever
to sign this contract,
you're like, fuck it.
You're not thinking Jay-Z,
you know, publishing.
This isn't even a formed
genre of music.
And you're like, fuck.
I'm going to make $15,000?
Fuck, yeah.
- For as long as
I can remember,
I've been around hip-hop,
as the former editor in chief
at "The Source" magazine.
The business does
get complicated.
You have to understand
the industry
that you're making music in.
It's the key to
survival as you continue
to grow old in the industry
because you're
going to need it.
- Dres told me he's
seen old-school rapper
hopping a train, actually.
We was like, yo,
that shit is crazy.
And Dres was like, yo,
I wanted to help him,
but, like, I wasn't really
in the situation--
Like, I ain't with him.
Fuck, I don't want to give
him no fucking $40.
You know what I mean?
- I think it's a
concerted effort to try
to take advantage of people.
I'm gonna keep it funky.
You know what I'm saying?
- You got 8, 9 points.
They don't tell you
that that's percentage.
That means there's 90%
that exists
that's not yours
off of what you did.
- What you made.
- Right.
And God forbid
you splitting it.
I should be a multimillionaire
if they just gave me half.
- Black Sheep were
an integral part
of early 1990s
renaissance hip-hop
coming out
of the Five Boroughs.
As part of The Native Tongue
Dres and his DJ, Mista Lawnge,
embody the spirit
of that group of musicians.
But they maintained their own
style and approach to music.
And in 1997, Dres dropped
his first solo project.
As well, he has released
independent music and material
as recently as last year.
Give it up for Dres.
- Yes, it's me
- All right.
- Yeah, yeah.
- For me, music is
It's a beautiful reason
to wake up every day.
It's a strong reason
to learn to correct yourself
because we're all going
to make the mistakes
that we're going to make.
That's what life is.
But be defined by
what you correct.
I'm working on some really,
really, really new dope shit.
This particular project
is a DnD project--
Dilla and Dres.
All right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's happening.
It's going down.
Like, I've been allowed
to visit
a sacred land
and pull a project
produced entirely by J Dilla.
And I'm asking all of y'all
to see that star
when it shines,
'cause it's going to shine.
You know what I'm saying?
That's my word.
I'm just asking you to pay
attention a little bit.
You know what I'm saying?
Word up.
How y'all feeling?
I can't hear y'all.
How y'all feeling, man?
Want to take it back?
- Way back, back into time.
- Okay.
Real quick.
Yes, we--
I only recall meeting Dilla
one time
in passing in life,
though he worked with everyone
of the Natives--
very close with Tribe.
You know, he did a lot
of work with De La.
- When I make my music--
you know what I'm saying?--
I want people to
feel what I feel.
I want them to feel that energy
that I--whatever it was.
Yeah, that's all it is,
because I make
it straight from the heart.
- Stakes is high
You know them
stakes is high
- JD from Detroit
was definitely one
of the illest producers ever.
- J Dilla was truly one
of the purest musicians
I've ever met.
- Dilla came with
his own sound,
his own beat, his own pace,
his own scratches,
his own melodies.
And then he started
working with everybody.
- He worked
with so many people,
from The Pharcyde, to Tribe...
- De La Soul.
- The Roots, Erykah Badu.
- Busta Rhymes,
Janet Jackson.
And he from Detroit.
So we like,
that's our guy.
- A significant role in
hip-hop is the sampling.
And one of the best to
ever do it is J Dilla.
- All I know how to
do is work the MPC
and listen to these
breakbeats and chop shit.
You know what I'm saying?
I come from that hip-hop shit.
- What he was doing was
merging jazz...
funk, soul.
He was flipping any
record, anything.
- The pieces of the record
that he would sample--
it would be the same
record you sampled,
but he would find a
piece in that shit
that you would never
even think to use
or couldn't even
use it that way.
- He could make a Soca record,
a reggae record,
an R&B record.
It was just in a way that
no one else would do.
And I mean, effortlessly.
- Like, yeah, he did hip-hop,
but he's way bigger than that.
He's a jazz musician.
- He knew his time signature.
He was programming it,
but it just felt live,
the swing of it.
He had an understanding of
it that he could manipulate it
any way that he wanted to.
- He was like, truly,
a scientist at it.
- Artists like Dilla
gave us a new voice,
currency, a relevancy.
- And that's real raw
talent right there.
And that's why we still talking
about him--because his beats
got us still talking.

- Went out to Puerto Rico
to do a charity event,
and I was blessed
to meet Ma Dukes.
- Can't never get enough
bell pepper and onion.
Let's see, finish cooking
this sauce.
- And I was offered
an opportunity
to come back to their house...
- Keep my pasta loose.
- For a meal and, you know,
just sit up and listen
to music, this, that,
and the other.
Welcome to the hot kitchen.
Dilla--he didn't have
a lot of freedom as a kid.
And, you know, at that time,
you could go to a record shop,
you hear
something playing new.
Because he was such
a great kid during the week,
when his dad worked, he
got to get record or two.
You know, he'd do that--
build his record collection.
He was exceptionally gifted.
He could take anything apart.
He was mechanically inclined.
Everybody liked him.
But he wasn't outgoing.
And if he didn't say
anything or didn't speak,
it was just because his
mind was, like--
his head was
in a different space.
Everything is like done
through math and science,
even with the music, you know.
Was used to hearing
music of all genres--
Mr. Yancey, who had been a
musician for over 25 years
as well as his job
at Ford Motor Company
for 40 years
before he passed away.
We entertained
a lot of musicians.
When Dilla was a baby,
at 11 months old,
he would hear James Brown
record come on.
And within the third beat,
he'd be up dancing.
But he had not
learned to walk yet,
and he's in a whole
different world.
So music had him early on.
- If I can get my folder.
- All right.
- A lot of stuff was floating
around on the Internet
because it wasn't
released properly.
And so I had to
encrypt a lot of stuff.
- Why?
- 'Cause folks are always
wanting to do music projects
with us, yet they're
using songs that they
don't have permission to use.
It's the legal stuff that
I got to take care of.
But the music--being
back home with the family
makes all of that
so much easier.
- The guy basically
chopped my record.
It got around--
bootleg versions.
And that was a big hit.
It was my fucking beats.
- Your tune?
- Yeah.
And it's like--that was
kind of in the beginning--
you know what I'm saying--
when I learned about that shit.
And people can
just take your shit
and sample it and rap over it.
And you know what I'm saying?
I can't stand that shit.
- Oh, that was it?
- Yo, play it again.

- And catch you off guard.
- Yo.

- I was killing the
heart, killing in the spot
Chilling the squad,
I seen it before
Tonight she ain't
feeling the dark
- Listening to Dilla's tracks
no one had ever heard before,
I became excited.
End of the night, I wound
up leaving Puerto Rico
with the opportunity to make
an album from Dilla's catalog
and a hard drive
of Dilla's beats,
music that was produced,
you know, 15 years ago.
Ma Dukes could
have had any artist
in the world do this project.
But I'm really grateful
because it's me.
- When I met you and the vibe
I got and the love I felt,
that was genuine.
And I just felt like I had
been around you always.
And that means a lot to me.
Dilla always told me, it's
a time for everything.
- All right.
- Let me know to calm down
and to wait for that moment.
And this is the time.
- All right.
Let's make it happen.
No doubt.
- And, Dres, you got it.
- Ah, thank you, Ma.
- You got the golden
Willy Wonka gold ticket.
- Thank you, Ma.
- Make it happen.
Make it happen.
- I was humbled.
I was honored, and I felt
a sense of accountability
to what I was about to do.

- I'm excited about it.
Dres, you know, over Dilla
beats would be dope.
- That's dope.
Oh, really?
Lucky him.
- Doing this has been
very therapeutic for me.
I've also been able
to kind of just look
at myself and the
artist that I am
and how important
it is for me to push
forward to do the work.

But I just picked, like,
40 tracks to start working.
The links are--you know,
like, this is 23 seconds.
This is a minute and 24.
This is 20 seconds right here.
Creating an entire
song from a snippet
has really been
a cool experience.
It's not about just
writing a rhyme
and force-feeding
it to a track.
You know, this project has
been very much me
falling in love
with what I'm hearing...
I see the stars in your eyes,
laying on Drew Hill
And letting that pull
out what should go on it.
Baby, loving you a virtue
If I had you,
wouldn't hurt you
Couldn't do nothing but nurse
your beauty, easy to see
Said I'll show
you what it mean
You were born my queen
- Here we go.

- You're so amazing.
Yo, that was crazy.
- Dilla is tricky, man.
Now that I'm
listening to this...
- Yo, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
- And playing...
- Yo, yeah.
That's my word.
- I'm like, the harmony that
this cat is using--
- It ends differently
than just a 16-bar rhyme.
- Right, right, right.

- You got some joints
I ain't even heard before.
- I ain't heard
a third of them.
- Right.
- It's so much more
for me to listen to.
- Word.
- He's a genius, man.
- I need it because
they hoping for my nap
And they know that
New York is on our back
You broke in on...
- Dilla is somebody you
can't afford to mess up.
- She won't know
where I'm at
- People would be
very unkind to you
if you take a Dilla
track, and you
don't make the most out of it.
- One, two, one, two.
Then they get no data
In any dream that
don't include us
One more time.
- I know, like, Dilla's mom
giving Dres those beats
was like giving him
her heart...
in a lot of ways.
- People have very strong,
visceral feelings
about everything J Dilla.
- Any dream that don't
include us...
- Normally, I would
be like, I hate this.
You know what I'm saying?
But I know Dres.
I love Dres.
And I know his heart.
But a lot of the "purists"--
we don't fuck with that shit.
- Even if Dilla was alive,
you're going to get held
to a very high standard
that's going
to be tough to live up to.
And, also, there's obviously
no collaboration of any sort.
It's not like we think
of Dres and Dilla
in the same room at all.
- Game, new deal--
- So there's also going to be
that certain aspect
of people going, that's random.
- Don't worry about
what people are saying.
Worry about what
your heart is saying.
- New deal
I see the stars
in your eyes laying on--
- Worry about what
you're going to do
to make this a hot project.
He know what to do.
- No, one more time.

What I'd like to
do is just play you guys
some of the full-length
cuts from the DnD project.
And I've taken this
journey, like, so internally,
and each track, I feel
like told me something.
So I want, you know,
just play some
of these joints for y'all.
- Okay.
- All right, cool.
- Yeah.
- This one is the
one with CeeLo.
And he kills--like,
he's just so amazing.
- I can't even imagine.
- Yeah, CeeLo is amazing.

- You know I'm there, but
you don't really know me
The limelight moves around
- Yeah.
Is it still the same way?
- For now.
- Don't give a fuck
about that shit you do
- Ha ha!
- That way
for lots of family
- Oh, damn.
- That's on point.
- Who's on this one?
- Alexander Simone,
Nina Simone's grandson,
and Freeway.
- Right.
- Yeah.
- Wow.

- Usually you don't get that--
- That is a full album.
- Yeah, I'm just saying
that everything is hot.
So it's, like, fresh
and new for me,
but I'm, like, really
energized and excited.
It's like I recognize
what you've been through,
and here you go.
God got you.
- All right.
- This project is for you.
- I love that.
I love that.
I love that--love it, love it.
- Just to give it
a little ambience,
I just decided to keep
some of the coconut.
I met Maureen with
DC Loves Dilla.
They had to come to
the radio station.
When we got closer and
closer, and then I said,
I'm gonna take you
to Puerto Rico.
- Look at it.
- Yeah, a little lizard, yeah.
He wants to be in the picture,
too, I guess.
- You know, she really
didn't understand it,
but that was our
first real date--
me going and taking
her to Puerto Rico.
That's when I started asking
her certain real questions
about, like, the people
who was around her,
helping her
facilitate the legacy
and the estate and everything.
And I asked basic questions--
couldn't get answered.
That's when I knew
it was a problem.
- After Dilla's passing,
there's a lot of confusion,
those who should be
reaping the benefits
of his hard work, which is--
- You know, you reading about
it, you're hearing about it.
Unfortunately, the lawyers
and the curator of the estate
wouldn't let her do nothing.
The estate
people was sitting there
trying to tell her
she can't go do
anything with Dilla's music.
They were stopping
her and stealing
intellectual property.
Shit bags.
Dilla's dead.
His family is alive
keeping the legacy alive.
So when I got involved,
I'm going to do like any
businessman is going to do--
fire everybody.
- Really, the person
who is pushing
forward all things J Dilla
and keeping his memory alive...
Since Dilla's passing, there
has not been a lot of success
in getting Dilla's
music out there.
- Yo, it's like you don't
want to get involved
in the messiness sometimes
of someone leaving us,
and then who
controls the estate
or the creative aspect of it?
You know, it can be
very tricky.
- You know, just because
you have something,
it might not just be yours.
You know, me with Prodigy--
I go through the same thing.
I'm gung-ho about
putting something out,
but I have to treat it
as if Prodigy is here.
It's like, okay, you get
this amount of money.
And you get that
amount of money.
And let's just
honor our loved one.
- We humbly learned the down
effects of the music business.
We learned that.
Yeah, it's a difficult--
I can't even speak
on the situation.
I hope it gets rectified, man.
I hope--
- The importance of
making sure everything
is clear with this particular
project is because
you've had so many people
using Dilla's
music without permission,
putting it out.
And then they wonder--you
come back to us and asking us,
how come my song
got taken down?
Like, what happened?
I put out a good
project and everything
that people think that it's
okay to take someone's property
and utilize it for your benefit
without having permission.
- Oh, yeah?
Like, and naming it
DnD, Dilla and Dres,
like, I felt like it was
important that we bond,
that this is an opportunity
to be the difference in some
of the stuff that
gets questioned
and some of the stuff
that gets acknowledged.
DnD is something
that, you know, like--
I'll put like this.
When we did
"The Choice Is Yours,"
I'm standing in front of the
mixing board next to Lawnge,
and I'm like, I don't
know what we just did,
but I know we just
did something.
- Word.
- And that's how I feel.
There is a pressure
that I put upon myself,
if anything, I think.
These people that
love your son...
- Yeah.
- They're looking at me like,
and you're about to do what?
- He's gone, but his
music is still here.
- Right.
- You've been given the idea.
You've been given the talent.
You've been blessed
to make this approach
and shine more light on what
and who he was from people
that knew him best.
- Yeah.
- I think
that's very important.
You know, it's going to be
a lot of those people
that really don't know
how to feel.
It's a lot of those people
that were close to him
that are still mourning him.
- Right.
- You can't be afraid
to take that step.
Let them have a taste of Dilla,
you know,
and show them--so you've
got to give it to them.
- That's real.
That's what we about to do.
- Exactly, exactly.

- One of the things that's
really important to me
in the making of this
project is Dilla's approval.
And all of that doesn't
take place any other way
without me learning about him.
I wasn't going to get
a phone call from Dilla.
I had to take the initiative
to find him.
I had to take the initiative
to find his friends.
- Where's Frank?
Oh, wait--Frank, Frank.
- I'm here.
Frank is here.
How y'all doing?
Holla at your boy.
Dilla, tell me if you remember
this--when we was in the...
- Frank Nitty was
Dilla's right hand.
Frank was always there,
and he cared about Dilla.
- Seven years
I put out records.
Everything I put
out was a J Dilla track.
- Everybody needs that
guy to hold him down,
and that was him.
- Is how we do
We can do two
We got two for you
- And he can rap pretty
fucking good, too.
- What's up?
- What up, yo?
- Want to come ride
in the family vehicle?
- Dude.
What up?
You feel me?
- Chilling, man.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
- That's what's up.
Man, we've been waiting
for this.
- Yeah.
- When I was, you know, going
through Dilla's catalog
and pulling tracks,
I didn't know that
Frank Nitt--he was the one
that compiled them all.
- It's dope that you taking the
time to get a little history.
But if he was here
and we was doing this,
I probably would've been
in his car picking you up
from the airport
to come do the work,
because that's how it went
down, you know what I'm saying?
I'm so grateful for it, man.
- Dres, my mom wants you.
- And he's extremely humble.
He's a good guy.
Don't let his humble fool you.
This a hip-hop
luminary in a lot of ways
just hanging out in your
basement at this point.
Being here creates
a certain type of individual
based on the path you take.
- One thing about
being from Detroit
and being from the '80s or
the '90s, in particular--
I would say it's
an acquired taste.
- Jalen Rose from
the University of Michigan.
- That's where I can
help him a whole lot,
and that's what I'm
looking to do from day one.
- Detroit's an
industrial giant.
- I mean, it's changed
over the decades.
- Largest automobile
plant in the world.
- Detroit was a thriving
city in the '70s.
Chevrolet, Ford, and Chrysler
manufacturing cars,
and we also had
Motown Records.
And music and cars
became our heartbeat.
- Detroit leads the nation
in violent crime.
- It started to change
in the '80s
as the crack epidemic hit,
and it went on the decline.
- It's a diamond in the rough.
It's just really,
really rough.
And I think Dilla applied that
hustle and smarts
to music.
I don't know.
I wonder how he would
feel to see this--
to know that, you know,
at some point,
people in your city
kind of caught up to it.
- Right, right.
- You know what I'm saying?
- Right, right, right.
That's so huge, man.
- Let's see if y'all
know what's going on here?
- I want to take y'all
to the East Side of Detroit
real quick.
- I'm talking Detroit history
musically was this place
right here, Pershing High.
I started here as a freshman,
and then Dilla didn't come
here until his senior year.
- And I'ma play
this game for you
- So we had this
thing we used to do
called "shake it up"
after school right here
with the crew.
We was known as the
hip-hop kids, man.
And, like, when we was doing
it, hip-hop wasn't cool to do.
- To be smacked
open-handedly by these
We used to make music at...
Which is, like,
a couple of blocks that way.
You know, that was, like,
our first real studio
to work at and do things.
- I think that Dilla
created a whole genre
for soul music and hip-hop that
could have its own category.
Nobody else created
beats like that, you know,
that felt that way.
Years ago--it must have
been late '80s or '90s,
I was smoking a joint
in front of the house,
and so he said, yo,
man, I hear that music
coming out of the house.
You got equipment down there?
You making music?
I said, yep, I do.
He brought the music
that he had been creating
from beat matching
with cassettes,
and that's how it all started.
At that point, I taught
him how to use the MPC.
It was watching
a light bulb go off.
It was, like,
a dream come true
to finally be able to
manipulate music like this
and put it together so fast.
So then he left stuff like this
that I have in the machine.
That's cool--that
I'll still have.

So there's probably
about six other keyboard sounds
like that,
where he played the chords
with just one note.
That showed you
how great his ear was...
Just the fact that
all these keyboard songs--
that just one chord--
he sampled it, and then
played it on the pad.
Nobody else was doing that.
How many songs you
got done already?
- Probably about 12, 13.
- Okay, that's good.
- I would love to play a track
or two for you, man...
- Yeah, I'd love to hear it.
- If it's cool.
You know what I'm saying?
- Yeah, please.
- Everything
that glitters...
- Whoo, that shit is cold.
- Be careful what you
ask for to cash in
Said, I'm a ride or die,
baby, mob me

- Wow.
That's the shit.
You're on a roll right now.
You need to keep--
you need to stay on that hill.
- A lot of music that's
still out here,
you know, and she could
have chose anybody.
She got to keep
the bar up here.
- The spot--the
old street here.
We never used this front door--
always the back door.
Come by the stoop.
Come by the house.
Come to Nevada.
I was in this house as
a 12-, 13-year-old kid
running around.
Like, Ma upstairs cooking--
for real, like, making pies
and snacks,
while we trying to make...
make music--
or do something we dream of,
you know what I'm saying?
Like, make a dream come true.
- Dilla Studios--don't
nobody get this motherfucker.
- Frank is in it deep.
It was just automatic
to work with him.
Know what I'm saying?
That's family.
- You have outdone
your cousin today.
- James Dewitt Yancey
as a person--
extremely smart,
He want to do what
he want to do.
- You got something
to say for the camera?
- Funny--a lot of
people don't know.
- You motherfuckers...
- The first thing I learned
about DJing was from him.
Like, he showed
me how to scratch.
After school, we walked--
Oh, come over to the crib.
I want to show you this.
- Talk about J Dilla's
basement is--we walk in.
His records
all over the walls.
- That's how I got to know
him--sitting in the basement
with the tiles.
- Got the couch
where I was laid out.
Mother cooking
for me upstairs.
He's like, use my records.
I don't care what you use.
Pete Rock is in my house, man,
making beats.
It's like two giants--
the Hulk and The Thing
just chilling out,
teaching each other.
And we became real fast,
talking to each other like--
you know?
- I mean, I got all that shit.
- Right.
- I had that shit.
I just wanted to get some--
- He has this process,
a way of hooking up drums,
making the drums
sound like they sound.
- That's it. He plays the
record, or he hears something.
Puts it in the machine.
Hears something else--oh.
- I'm watching all these
things, and I'm like,
this is alchemy.
This is fucking science
what's going on right here.
- That's what makes it special,
as well as all the music
and all the stars
and celebrities
that pulled up in our hood
to come get that work.
You know what I mean?
- They all came down to the D.
- They came to the D.
- They all came to the D.
That's what I'm saying.
I'm still a fan of
this hip-hop shit.
You know what I'm saying?
Shit like that--it's
still part of the dream.
It's still part of the--
I can't believe it.
- Putting it
on the map for the D
- Yo.
DJ Dez.
- I feel like I represent
something special, man.
I'm proud of the era.
I'm proud of the cast
that I came in with--
a lot of history.
- Finally, that's word.
First of all, how
did you meet Dilla?
- We met at Amp's house.
You just feel like you
at the right place--
you know what I'm saying--
or right moment.
You know when you in the midst
of somebody that's special.
I felt like we was going
to take over the world.
I felt like
that was my partner.
We was aliens, and we was going
to take over the world.
- Right, right, right, right.
I get it, because since
I kind of started this project
and announced that I'm
doing this project,
the energy around it
kind of goes throughout
my entire sphere of awareness.
You know what I'm saying?
Like, everything around me
became kind of charged.
You know what I'm saying?
- It's special.
- Yeah, yeah.
- It's a special dynamic.
- Yeah, it is a very
special dynamic.
- Hmm.
Keep the passion, man.
You might run
into an obstacle.
Just keep the passion,
you know,
this past can get tricky.

And it's just...
- Right.

Things become way more
complicated after you gone.

- He came back
from tour 2000--
from UK.
He just wasn't feeling good.
So, during his hospital
stay that we thought
was going to be just
for observation,
it ends up being a couple
months because he has
to have dialysis, you know?
And he had lupus, which was
a very rare blood disease.
And I think they said it
was one in...
- J Dilla was like
my roommate out here.
So I would go home
every day, and he
would be working on his MPC,
making beats, creating magic.
And then eventually
he got sick,
I'd watch him, you know,
physically deteriorating.
- The first time I seen him
in a wheelchair
was when he rolled
off the plane.
- It was basically
his last tour.
What up, doe?
What up, doe?
- And I'm not gonna act like
there's anything different.
You know, it's still Dilla.
What up, boy?
You know, it's still that.
The only thing I did ask him
was, yo, we been filming.
If you don't want to be on
camera, tell me now, you know.
No, film that shit.
Film that shit.
- It's a blessing to
be out here right now
bringing you this celebration--
that's what it is.
- Retrospect, he knew.
He knew his time was coming.
- He even brought his
moms to see you all.
Make some motherfucking noise!
- He didn't take anything
that day, but he's hurting,
I can imagine, all over.
- It's Ma Dukes, y'all.
- Bring Ma Dukes to the stage.
- That last night
before he passed away,
he's finishing up
his last project.
Now all I got to do is
get the bass line, he says.
- In his hospital bed,
you know,
with his little
crate of records,
little, small
little turntable,
I'm sick, possibly dying.
Where's my MPC?
That's a whole
other mind state.
- It was something that
I didn't want to accept,
that he was losing himself.

Even as I'm holding him, he
just had a breath in my arm.
But that breath that I felt
was his last breath,
and he died in my arms.

I had so much love and so
many people supporting me
around me.
- Eventually I'll come home,
and he's not there no more.
So his spirit is still
here, and he's living
forever through the music.
- It's just that dedication.
Everybody can't be
on that type of time.
Thank you all for coming out.
I love you all, man.

- Too young...
died too young.

- When we started coming
here, he was digging.
Now, they got memorabilia,
T-shirts, all that, but...
It is ice cold.
I've been here so many times.
You have no idea.
Even after I had records,
we still would come in here,
and he would dig.
And we had, you know,
singles out.
Our singles would
be here on the wall.
- There go Dilla's
signature right there.
- All right.
- Yep.
- "Jay Dee, Slum Village."
And then if we go all
the way down over here,
you'll find your boy Nitty...
- All right.
- Right there.
- That's what's up.
- You want to go above Quest?
- Okay, sounds good.
- That good?
- Yeah.
All right.
- Thank you.
I feel honored.
- You know what's
a good example?
Check with--what is it--
"Why I Got To Be Like That,"
Pharcyde, okay?
And then listen
to "Do For Love" by Tupac.
- J, he took record digging
to a whole nother level.
I mean, he would come in,
literally sit down,
grab the most obscure
jazz album
that you could
actually think of,
and he would play
X amount of songs.
His knowledge was
just a joy to behold.
- The last three years,
all production,
just trying to get my name out.
I still consider myself
underground, very underground.
I want to get across there
and still do what I do.
- You know, and Detroit
is the type of city
where, if you
don't come correct,
you will be called out for it.
I mean, talk about no-fly zone.
That's how bad it is.
You know, don't let the
smooth taste fool you.
We handle our own around here.
But we also praise...
- When it's done correctly?
- When it's done correct, yes.
Oh, most definitely.
- Excellent, because that's
what this is all about.
This is all about
doing it correctly.

It has a weirdness to it.
I could definitely
sense, you know,
the territorial
aspect of people's
relationships with Dilla--
that I didn't have this.
You know, I wasn't in the room.
I wasn't there.
You know, I get it.
I would be a little territorial
as well probably.
- Yo...
- Oh, wow.
That's kind of
the energy that--
you know, like, the energy
that exists around this
is very elusive.
Ask her, you know, if
I may, what happened?
Even if she don't do it,
whoever she talking to,
she should be armed with the
truth about the situation.
They don't know if I'm a
piece of shit trying to take
advantage of a situation.
Why should I trust you?
So whatever
the fuck they saying...
Yeah, and I'm definitely
trying not to...
take anything personal.
It's not even
a "fuck you" thing.
It's a "what the fuck
are you doing?" thing.

- Hey, Dres.
- What's going on?
- So I just got off the phone
with Toney and Ma's attorney.
- Oh, yeah?
- And there seems
to be a little bit
of hesitancy on their part
about this project,
in general.
- This is coming from--
it's coming from left field.
- I'm sorry.
- This is news to me.
- Yeah, do you have
anything signed
with them at this point?
- Remember when we were
first putting this together?
- Yeah.
- You told me--
let's clarify everything
going on with the music.
But the music--it was
done on the goodwill
of me, Toney, and Ma.
- Okay.
- I've been moving forward
and speaking like--
like I had Ma's blessings--
that they allowed me to do
this from the very beginning.
- Yeah, look, Dres, if I'm
understanding correctly,
you haven't had a chance
to paper up a deal yet
for the album
itself, right?
- I'm the only one that's
spent money in the creation
of this project.
No one else has.
I've spent thousands
upon thousands of dollars
creating this, getting
all kinds of features.
And I was under the assumption
that, in good faith,
they're my partners.
They represent
Dilla's interests.
J Dilla is the producer,
and I'm the MC.
- I got--that
makes total sense.
I know a lot of things get
lost in translation sometimes.
- I think Toney might
have maybe misconstrued--
Like, I even asked
her on film, you know,
why did she give me
permission to do this?
And the answer, you know,
was heartwarming.
I don't understand where
this is coming from.
- Look, I'm not sure if
this is a game or a tactic,
but I'm just doing my best
to kind of alleviate
their concerns.
So the sooner we get something
in writing that outlines
exactly what this
relationship is
and exactly what you guys
are doing, the better.
- Well, let's put
it under contract.
I hope we can figure this out.
I don't know where
they went off track.
I literally look at them like
an extension of my family
at this point.
It sounds like you really
need to talk to a lawyer.
- Yeah.
I appreciate it.

- What's really fascinating
in the music industry
is most artists have this
optimistic view of things.
They go into the studio.
They write together.
They hang out.
- As y'all pass
this, y'all are going
to notice that he
looks like he's about
to spit a serious rhyme.
- That because they work
so well with each other
that the contractual nature
of it will just all work out.
They just do and create.
It's a very nice way
to view the world.
that's why you need me,
because that's not what
the world is about.
Here, just sit on this chair.
Just sit over here.
Here, let me grab your bag.
- Oh, thanks.
- In this specific case, which
is Dres, the organic nature
of the way this came about,
which is him just happening
to be at a show and
happened to be invited
by Ma to her house and
happened to talk to Toney,
who happened to give him
his first step wasn't, like,
hey, lawyer.
Go call Ma Dukes' lawyer
and get a contract.
It's just not
the way people think.
All right, so...
I'm not sure if--
do you know I met with--
with Ma Dukes and Toney--
- Okay.
- On Thursday?
- Yeah.
How'd that go?
- It's my understanding
that Ma Dukes,
through Toney's music
publishing company,
controls the rights
to the music...
at this point.
Their concern, I think,
is, you know, natural
because there's so
much product out
in the marketplace
right now, J Dilla product,
that's unauthorized.
- Right.
- That's one of the
hesitancies of them.
If you look on YouTube
or on Instagram
or even Spotify and Apple,
you see unauthorized
Dilla tracks.
- Definitely.
- Their hesitancy
and uncomfortableness
is you were going off
and doing your thing,
and you were getting
features, and you
were making the tracks work.
And they didn't have
a real understanding
of what was going on
with their son's music.
- I paid for all
of these sessions
and told you all
about every single--
you know, like, every step.
- This is why having
contracts with them
is so important to them
and, obviously,
so important to you.
One of the other
problems is the estate.
It's a bit messy.
In addition to Ma, there are
other parties that are vying
for control of the music.
And it's one of the things
we just have to clean up,
which is, I think, you know,
one of the reasons
that you should just
take a step back for a moment
so we can, you know, get
some clarity on that.
- All right.
- Don't focus on it.
Don't do any recording.
Don't talk about it.
Go and do Dres, tour, produce.
You know, do your thing.
- I've taken it as far as,
in my heart,
like, I'm looking
at them as Dilla
and that me and
Dilla are a duo.
What she's affording
me is the platform...
- Right.
- For the world to see
exactly what
I have to say today.
- No, I--
- And that's all I need.
That's all I need.
- You know, there's
no paperwork.
So let us focus on Dilla,
because if we can't
make this deal,
then these tracks will
never see the light of day.
All of our time and your money
is going to go to waste.
Let us work on this so we
can get this deal done.
- All right.

I've been the same artist
I've been my entire career,
but the music industry
can definitely make
anyone uneasy.
Is this right?
Is this correct?
Is anything going
to fall on me?
And as much as
"The Choice Is Yours" puts me
in a lot of rooms
and things thereof,
it doesn't afford me what this
project is about to afford me.
From here off,
I think is taking
some of my eggs out of this
basket and this project.

- There's hundreds of
thousands of examples
of records that have been made
that will never,
ever see the light of day.
It's called shelving.
You know, the question is,
will this Dres and Dilla album
be one of them?
- How'd you sleep?
- Oh, slept well.
- Yeah?
I told you I've got to go
to Milwaukee today, right?
- Yep.
- Did I tell you
what I was doing?
I told you I was doing
a day party for Adidas--
the sneaker company?
- Yeah, I know what that is.
- Okay, cool.
I definitely would like
to think that there's
something inside of me that--
that shines inside of Sid.
Hey, Sidney.
Say, "Happy Father's Day."
- That's my boy.
- Who is that?
- Who is that with them
pearly-white teeth?
Is that my baby?
Mwah! Don't be
so happy about it.
Sid has grown up
with me in and out.
Like, you know, it's kind of
a running joke in the house.
You know what I'm saying?
Like, I'm always leaving.
- Hi, everybody.
- Now say, "bye."
He always sees me traveling,
going back and forth...
Say, "hello."
- Hi.
- Writing,
reciting, practicing.
That's dad's 9:00-to-5:00.
Dad is unorthodox
in the degree that, you know,
he doesn't see me get up
at 7:00 in the morning
and go to the office
and come back, ever.
But he's always
seen me working.
Did you finish?
- Yeah.
There were 154 questions
total on the test,
and I got through, like, 130.
- That's pretty good.
You know, like I didn't
grow up in a nuclear family.
Be right back, Sid.
So me learning how to create
a peaceful home is a process.
I don't come from it.
So there's times when I've
had to trial-and-error.
That's something
that your family
has to go through with you.
What planet has a ring?
- That's Saturn.
- Okay, smart boy.
- I live Saturn, too.
- You live on Saturn, too?
I live on Earth.
Maybe you take me with you
when you get older
and you go into space?
- Okay.
I just want you to
know, I'm a huge fan.
- Like all my kids, they're
dreamers, without question.
And that's important.
It's important to dream.
Love you.
- Bye.
- I'll see you later, okay?
- Yeah.
- All right.
Yeah, call Mom
when you're hungry.
- Yeah.
- All right?
You know, like, that's
the shit that ages you--
when you stop dreaming.
But when you're young,
you might not see
where reality and dreams meet.
Yo, how y'all feeling?
Yo, how y'all feeling?
Yo, my name is Dres.
- I go by the name of the
sugar-dick daddy Mista Lawnge.
- As you get older,
that becomes
a little bit more definitive,
definitely with your career
and relationships.
Once you become an
artist, you have
a sense of responsibility.
We have a sense
of responsibility
to all of these people
right here--
you know, things
that we're doing.
They look at us.
But at the same
time, I really have
to stress that
people are people,
and people make mistakes,
and nobody's perfect.
Like, me and Lawnge--
anything can happen.
- What's the name of this
group on the stage tonight?
Black Sheep!
- Say what?
- You know, sometimes you
outgrow relationships.
- You got Mista Lawnge
and Dres in the house.
- Man, what y'all been
doing for two years, man?
Y'all been on hiatus, man.
- Back up off us, man.
We hear a lot of--
well, you want
to go ahead and elaborate?
- Nah, man.
- Say no more.
- We'll be back--
We got Black Sheep
in the house.
- I missed me and
Lawnge being Black Sheep
and having the
knowledge of each other,
as well of ourselves.
We had vision.
We had concept.
You know, we were a package
before we ever hit wax.
Yo, who's the black sheep?
What's the black sheep?
You know, people definitely
always affiliated
"The Choice Is Yours"
with me and Lawnge.
Peace, brother.
Pardon me.
- Black Sheep, right?
- No doubt.
But at this point, people have
literally seen me on my own
for years.
What up, baby?
- How you doing?
- And with Strike
shadowing me, they've
come to understand that me
and Lawnge aren't together.
So I think, you know,
like, they kind of
put my face to the song today
more so than they do Lawnge.
- Please make sure
your seat belt is--
- You know, like, people have
asked me, like,
do I ever get tired of
performing "Choice Is Yours"?
Coming on, doing, like,
one song and everything,
and they just pulled
me in for that.
But that's beyond a blessing.
Life is going to be
what it is.
You know what I'm saying?
It's not always going
to be a sunny day.
It's cold.
- Milwaukee is
about that action.
Remember when we was--
where was we at?
It was Sweden or something.
It was nice when we went in
the club, and we came out--
- We came out, it was snowing.
- It was snowing.
- It was like we was
in Maine or something.
- Yo, shit was crazy.

- Hello?
- Mr. Dawson.
- Yes, sir.
- Hey, how's it going?
This is Dres from Black Sheep.
I was just trying
to find out what
time you would be arriving
to grab us from the hotel.
You perform at 6:00, right?
Let's say 4:30.
- 4:30?
- Yeah.
- Okay.
- All right.
See you then, bro.
- All right.
- Okay, cool.

I'm not with the bullshit.
Like, and if there was a issue,
why didn't I hear from--
Yeah, like...
That doesn't even make sense.
Like, why are we doing it--
you know what I'm saying--
if we're not, you know--
Well, let me just...

And that shit is a bluff.
Like, I can't imagine...
Toney not signing off
on this shit.
As much as he's
talking about it...
I can't imagine it not coming
out and it being his fault.
She said out of her mouth,
this is signed off.
Yeah, like they--
Fucking studio fees.
Let me just do what I'm doing.
Because if they keep
that shit up, man--
Let's go.
We out.

I'm just going to step
back and do what I do.
Y'all do what y'all do.
Just figure this shit out.
You know?

- If you were in the middle
of making a project,
and you've been working
on it for a long time,
you believe you're taking all
the proper measures
to get it done, I can
certainly understand
why an article
in "Rolling Stone" stating
that, in fact, you have done
none of those things
and the album is unsanctioned
and doing this
without permission
would be frustrating,
to say the least.
- I've been coming to
for a lot of years, right?
But now I think we're going
to be doing a lot of parties
together out here
with each other, right?
- Got to do the intro.
Definitely warm up your mic.
I'm gonna position myself
so as soon as it drops,
I'm walking out.
But I don't want you to just--
you know, yeah, like--yeah.
Cool, cool, cool.
This is going to be fun.
I'm for the hood, yo,
I'm for the struggle beat

- Ready?
- Yes, sir.
How many of us
are 35 and older?
Make some noise.
How many of us are under 35?
Okay, okay, welcome, welcome,
motherfuckers, welcome.
On the ones and twos might
join DJ Strike holding me
down for a dozen years now.
- What up? What up?
- This is going to be a little
bit different than anything
you've been to.
We don't get litty.
We rock shit.
So we going to
rock shit tonight.
We rock shit!
Can we have some
fun in Milwaukee?
Hip-hop is definitely
in the house.
- Let's go.
- Word.
And let's get into some shit.
My name is Dres.
Y'all know what it is.
All right, let's do this.
Who's the black sheep?
What's the black sheep?
Know not who I am...

Doing shows is me breathing,
being on the road,
me working, me hustling,
me grabbing
any mic that had hip-hop
and a paycheck
affiliated with it.
That's my life.
If you can.
It goes...
Engine, engine
Number 9!
- On the New York
Transit line!
- I get to rock--
literally, rock--
audiences globally.
If my train goes
off the track
Pick it up, pick it up,
pick it up
I lived that.
That's how I paid for DnD.
And everything aside,
that's beautiful.

- Thank you for coming.
- It was a pleasure to hang
out with y'all, no doubt.
Back at you.
- Appreciate you.
Now say, yeah.
all: Yeah!
- That's what I'm
talking about.
I have those memories of me
and Lawnge.
One of the biggest secrets
I think I learned from Lawnge
is to just have fun.
Milwaukee, big up yourselves.
Word up.
Y'all got it going on.
- Good job. Good job.
You did that shit.
- I appreciate it.
- All right, now.
- As long as you're having
fun, everyone is enjoying you.

It's that simple.

Did that.
That's done.
- In 3, 2...
- Ah, yo, check it.
This is Dres.
- And this is Mista Lawnge,
the 9.5er.
- Together we make up
this group called what?
- Black Sheep in the house.
- Now we're rocking with who?
Oh, shit.
- I would love to see
Dres and Lawnge rock.
But with them not being
together for so long,
it's tricky, man.
It's tricky.
Like, you want to
see Black Sheep,
you know, this classic
team-up of the two.
But we're all human beings.
It isn't easy.
It isn't easy to talk about.
Yeah, I don't--
I don't know if that's
going to happen.
- They were separated
so long ago.
And since I've
made it to New York
and have been around
the scene,
I've gotten to know Dres over
the years, always seen him.
I don't recall of any
interaction with Mista Lawnge.
So I have no idea.
Where is he?
- I don't know that they're
beefing or whatever.
Is he going to be in the film?
Fat chance.
Fat chance.
- I'm saying, a
good documentary
got to get to the bottom
of what the fuck happened.
Well, first of all,
where the fuck is he?
- I have no idea--
no clue, none at all.
- Like, yo, the nigga just
disappeared off the Earth.
Like, I heard he's in Florida.
I don't know how valid that is.
- Last time I heard, I think
he's in North Carolina maybe.
I don't know.
That's interesting.
- No, where is he?
- In history,
it's always,
what happened to that guy?
You see this guy. What
happened to the other guy?
We know it's two.
You dig a little harder,
and you dig a little harder,
and you dig a little harder.
But sometimes when
you find that answer,
it does nothing because
it may be by design.
It may be a plan.
Who knows?

Deep down, I'll always be
Mista Lawnge from Black Sheep.
But today I'm just dad.
No, you stop.
You stop bugging.
No, I'm sorry.
- A lot of stuff is a blur to
me because it happened fast.
They just wanted to hear
what we're capable of.
And then they gave us
a demo budget to do
a real demo, you know,
in a real studio.
I love hip-hop, and
I love the music.
But I don't love
what it comes with.
- I mean, you
guys are so young.
- It doesn't matter
what your age is.
You're letting people know us.
- I'm 19 years old
at the time,
fresh out of high school.
Here, go get on that stage.
Here, you're
in front of stars.
You're shaking hands
with A-listers.
You're, you know, teens
making these big, mega hits.
When you have that success,
you have to maintain
that success.
The choice is yours.
You can get with this,
or you do that.
And that's what
they want to see.
That's what they want to see.
And it was overwhelming.
That's what I hate
about the music industry
and success--
people's anticipation.
You get kind of a anxiety.
I'm not doing it
for the love, anymore.
I'm doing it for
their expectation.
- How many people who grew up
in hip-hop?
Make some noise
if you grew up in hip-hop.
- Hip-hop cannibalizes
itself so much
that they're always
looking for the next new.
Look at this.
Forget that.
That's old.
Hip-hop is the only genre
that that happens in.
That took away the love
for what I was doing.
So I just left.

That was it.
I'm the Naked Cowboy.
- Ladies, take a picture
with you, ladies, come on.
- I'm the Naked Cowboy

- You think about where
you are in life, your age,
you know, and you think about
people that you know and love,
the time that passes...
See, I got on fresh paint.
This is fresh paint,
so you do it naturally,
so it's not super gray.
So you can always see the older
rappers with freshly painted,
but right underneath
is gray, a lot of gray--
the new growth.
Hey, it is what it is, man.

Coming back to New York
is very nostalgic,
and it is motivation.
It really throws me
right back into the space
that I was in with club life
and Dres
and being around
the music industry.
What led up to the success
of Black Sheep
was what was fun for me.
That is the part that I try
to hold on to the most.
It's been,
like, 20-plus years.
I'm hoping to really
get that energy back.
You know, for me, when it
comes to Black Sheep and Dres,
no, never say never.

- Yo.
What's going on, B?
- How you doing, man?
- Good to see you, brother.
- Good to see you, too, man.
- Word up.
Say hello to somebodies.
- What up, world?
It's Mista Lawnge
from Black Sheep.
- This is my brother
right here, y'all.
It's been a long time since
y'all got this picture.
I better freeze-frame that one.
Word up.
- Stay tuned.
- All right, for real,
stay tuned.
Much love.
I'll catch y'all.

Where we're headed was
one of the top shows
ever in my life--
the Apollo Theater.
The balcony was literally
shaking up and down.
- Didn't we have to tell
people to stop jumping
because the shit was--
- Yeah, like, we really thought
that shit was going to break.
- Uh-huh. It's like, okay,
now we're home.
- Yep.
- Wow.
Black Sheep--it's been years.
It's been years.
Oh, my gosh.
- What's up?
How are you, man?
- Long, long time.
- Yeah, right.
How's everything?
If you embrace Harlem, Harlem
embraces you right back.
Good to see you, man.
This is our stomping grounds.
We'd meet in front
of the Apollo.
- Yep.
- Upstairs was a studio
at the time.
- We mixed
"Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
right in here.
- So being here
is very inspiring.
- That's real.
And it also puts
you in touch with--
Like, this is who
we do this shit for.
- Y'all amazing.
- Harlem gives that
right back.
- I respect what you're
doing with the tribute.
- Oh, I appreciate that, man.
This is coming home.
- The world-famous
Apollo Theater...
- The Apollo Theater--first
of all, it was sold out...
- Yeah.
- Standing room only.
- It was tense.
It was anxiety.
It's like that
before any big show.
- I remember after that show
us walking down
125th Street this way...
And every car going by
was just honking at us.
It was like, y'all did it.
And we just walking, just
floating down 125th Street,
just feeling like I wasn't
touching the ground.
- The stage has been graced by
such artists
as Sammy Davis Jr.,
Count Basie...
- Ella Fitzgerald.
- It's a tradition
of Black music.
For us, that was
real important.
And then us doing stuff
like late-night television--
every audience--we were always
having to prove ourselves.
- It's Arsenio Hall!
- Time we did Arsenio...
- I got something for y'all.
Oh, we got a great
show for you.
- I want to do
some different shit.
So I was like, listen, we
perform from the audience.
- We're the Black Sheep
- Arsenio was like, you
got to talk to my producer
about that shit.
- So he took me
to the producer.

He was like, okay, so
let's just try it.
And the shit popped off.
- Yeah, it was crazy.
It was crazy.
- So that became a format
for them to do that.
- Are we ready?
- Here's Jay Leno!
- And then Leno--
- Ladies and gentlemen!
Everybody say scream
- That was tremendous
for the culture.
That was the beginnings
of putting hip-hop
in Middle America.
- Being in New York,
reconnecting with Dres,
filming this documentary--
it's kind of, like,
intense for me.
You know, just in my own head,
it's kind of
"Twilight Zone"-ish.
- When we lived
here, like, nobody
really knew we lived here.
- And the engine of
my mind starting up,
putting everything together,
but, you know, I'm just
looking for inspiration.
If the right thing
comes about,
you never know
what's going to happen.
- Mista Lawnge, Dres,
Black Sheep, slam now.
My man.
- Good to see you.
- Oh, my gosh.
I ain't seen you
in forever, man.
What's up with you?
You got a beard on me now.
Mista Lawnge got
a beard on me, D.
It's painted.
- Ah, shit.
This is my code D
right here, man.
- No doubt, no doubt.
- That's what's up.
So we're putting the
band back together.
- Very, very possible, man.
That's what we looking at, man.
We going to be like--
- I still got it.
- You know what I'm saying?
Yo, man.
For real, for real.
- How are you feeling about--
You got something
written, though?
- Shit.
I could play with that one.
- This is Dilla, you know,
from the DnD project.
You want to jump in?
You want me to set it?
It don't matter to me.
- Yeah, I'll jump in,
while shit is in my head.
- All right.
- While I was on the plane,
I was in my own head
about what we were
going to be doing.
I really had no expectations.
Concepts start flying
from what I see,
you know, regular life.
The way things happen...
And I'll automatically
go into writing.
- Mista Lawnge verse--we
haven't heard in a minute.
That's what's up.
- Mista Lawnge
from Black Sheep...
I'm gonna just run through
it a couple of times
until I learn this shit.
- Y'all need the beat?
- Nah, this for the DnD.
This is a Dilla shit.
- Oh, oh, Dilla drop.
Oh, okay. That's right.
- Get him on this
project, you know?
- Yeah, yeah.
- That'd be crazy.
Let's do it again.
We got the energy.
- Mm-hmm.
I mean, with the wild
success of Black Sheep,
I still look back.
That wasn't the best part.
The best part was
that growing--
you know, just brothers
making music,
doing what we love.
- We navigated, and we
found our way to here, man.
I'm proud of us for that.
- We learned
from our mistakes.
- You know what I'm saying?
What it could've been,
what it should've been.
- Everything happens
for a reason.
- Let's do it.
- So let's do some
shit together.
Yo, Mista Lawnge
is the K-E-Y
And some of y'all are
going to say he lie
So, listen, maybe
I need to spit that truth
When I hit that booth
Then y'all
sleeping-ass skeptics
Could get that proof
It's undeniable,
me, I'm so reliable
But a lot of rappers' success
is really unjustifiable...
- Ladies and gentlemen,
at this time,
we're approaching our
next station stop.
- Hey, Dres.
Ma Dukes here.
What up, doe?
I thought I need to call you.
After all the rhetoric and
misconceptions about things,
I really think we
should get together
and, you know
like, have a chat,
kind of explain to each other
what the heck's going on,
you know, sit down--
you, me, and Toney,
if that's okay with you.
I don't know what
your schedule is,
but we'll be
in D.C. Wednesday.
So try to hit me back.
If I have to extend it a day,
I will, but let me know, okay?
Reach me back at 313 number
or either of the 323s.
Both of them I'll have on.
One love.
- Ladies and gentlemen,
at this time,
we are approaching
our final destination,
Washington, D.C., station.
At this time, we ask you...
- I haven't seen Ma since
we were in Puerto Rico.
As far as this project
itself, you know,
I've had to deal
with a lot of doubt.
- Washington, DC,
final station.
- We're going through
a cloudy situation.
You know what I'm saying?
And it's not for me to
move on and just think
that it's going to be okay.
That's not how
it's going to work.
So whatever is in question,
I'd like to address now
so that there isn't
any misunderstandings.
What up?
How are you?
- Good to see you, man.
- No doubt.
No doubt.
- Good to see you, too.
- No doubt, no doubt.
Hey, Ma.
- What up, doe?
- Ah, here you go.
This is for you.
- Oh, my God.
Thank you.
- And it's good to see you.
- Good to see you, too.
Get all that baggage
off your back and enjoy.
- It's so good to see you.
That's what's up.
- Thank you.
You know I like gifts.
- It's been too long.
- Yes.
- Have a seat right here?
- All right.
What's up now?
How y'all doing?
- Pretty good.
It's been a good day.
Weather is not bad.
- Yeah, right?
- Yeah.
- It turned out pretty
decent out there.
It was a little overcast
when I left New York,
but it's nice out here.
- Oh, yes.
- Yeah, it's been
quite the walk.
It's been quite the walk.
Yeah, we're here, though.
- Yes.
- Yeah, you know?
I really wanted to say
that, you know, like, this...
Like, I just really
trusted who we were.
Like, you know,
like, what happened?
Like, what--
- There are numerous
people doing Dilla music--
not permitted, just
willy-nilly doing whatever.
It's a known fact that
he's one of the most
bootlegged artists ever.
as far as music,
for this project...
I'm saying it from me to the
ears of those that will listen
with my own face and mouth.
This was something that I've
been very excited about.
- Thank you.
- This article has brought
a lot of attention
to a lot of people.
- I know who I'm talking to.
- Mm-hmm.
- And I know what I'm hearing.
- Yeah.
- These are
two different things.
Like, what happened?
This doesn't even sound
remotely like--
you know what I'm saying--
like us.
- That was a messy interview.
That wasn't my quote.
I was confused.
- Like, it's almost--
- So I just don't know.
- Yeah, like, why--
why even write this interview?
You just was unsure if you
wanted to have this happen?
- No.
Toney, did you--when
you came to kitchen,
you said, did you see this?
- I couldn't believe
that "Rolling Stone" article,
using those particular words,
misquoting my wife.
It's like, oh, my God, yo.
- I don't know.
- How?
That's when I knew
for a fact that--
- Something was very wrong.
- Something was very wrong.
- Even some of the wording
in it was kind of, like--
- It was, like, crazy.
- Oh, right, right,
right, right.
- And it didn't make sense,
and it was too much
that I didn't know about
that was being said.
I endorsed this project
in the beginning.
I've been so excited about it.
And the sheer fact that the
idea happened in my own home
in Puerto Rico, okay,
three years ago,
so they don't have
to worry about--
Nobody has to put
an article up.
- Yo, we here.
This is what's important.
- You know,
we withstood the storm.
- Right.
- And we didn't know
it was coming.
- Right, right. Real talk.
- We go, oh, you know.
- On so many fronts.
- And that's life.
- Yeah.
- That's the real thing, and
that's what makes us strong.
- And you want to
know, like, you know,
that your relationships
can survive that.
- And that's what it is.
Let's rise together.
- Yeah, no doubt.
- That's what it is.
- Thank you, sincerely.
- You still and always did have
my blessing.
- Thank you.
That was real.
- It is real.

- Anytime I can get
a chance to see Ma,
it's, like, this just really
parental type of feeling
that I get in her presence.
I think about the very humble
beginnings of us
just meeting by chance
and all that it's become,
you know, from the pandemic,
to the trials and tribulations
of creation,
to, you know, real life
taking place in the interim.
It's been a learning
experience within itself.
More than anything, I think
it's invigorated in me
to definitely make sure that
my estate and my affairs
are situated.
Publishing and the music
that I have done
are going to my children
to help them
move forward in life.
It also put the desire in me
to leave something, you know,
so I'm very grateful for that.
What the world is seeing
you do for your son
says it all,
as far as who you are
and the mother that you are
to this world.
- Wow. Thank you for that.
- Like, for real, for real.
- Dilla was my whole world.
Some parents don't even know
that their children were
talented or creative.
- Right.
- But you got to nourish
that talent
to make the world better
for young people.
- Especially
VH1 Save The Music.
- Yeah.
- You know what I'm saying?
Oh, that's what's up.
- Yeah, that's--that's my baby.
- I mean, that's why--
how many schools we are now?
- Oh, my God.
We have 40 schools in.
- That's what's up.
- And just for
your own benefit,
visit any one of
the J Dilla Tech Grant schools
to see that
growth is happening,
and children have
more resources.
- And it keeps introducing
who he is to them.
- Yes, it does.
- You know what I'm saying?
Like, they're gonna grow up
knowing, like you know,
Dilla, that means something.
That name means something.
That name helped me.
- How are you?
- I'm good. How are you?
- Can you hold on?
- Sure.
Hey, yo, yo, yo, guys, guys.
Turn off the speaker and
let's get something recording.
Let's not vibe right now, okay?
So Za's gonna record,
bring up a--bring up a thing.
- Save The Music's mission
is helping students,
schools, and communities
reach their full potential
through making music.
One of the things I saw in
my first years here was
there was incredible demand
from the student side
for hip hop, electronic music,
you know, the music that
the students are
actually listening to.
- Yeah!
You want to record that in?
- We've got to name it
something other than
the Music Tech Grant.
We put our heads together.
There's really only one person
who could possibly be
the patron saint for this
program, and that's J Dilla.
- Does anybody else wanna take
a stab at a different beat?
- Yes.
- The Dilla Tech Program,
we see it's incredibly popular
with music students,
and then it also pulls in
a whole other
population of students
who never considered music
through the traditional paths.
I'm always amazed
when you take
young people seriously
and their creativity seriously
what they come back with.
- So, let's meet everybody.
Y'all got to introduce me.
- Absolutely.
This is Elijah right there,
definitely one of our
producers-in-making over here.
- How are you?
- Good, man. How you feeling?
- These are some of the guys
over here.
They're working right now.
Who's in the booth?
- Can you engineer?
- No, he engineer my music.
- Oh, yeah? Yeah?
And all of y'all are artists?
All of y'all are engineers?
All of y'all producers?
- No, I'm an artist.
- I'm an artist.
- Artist, artist.
- I'm a ballplayer, too.
- Ballplayer, too?
- Yeah, he an artist, though.
- All right.
What's your name, champ?
- Name's Kenny.
- Kenny?
- I'ma come up.
- Kenny, you wanna come up?
- Watch this.
- I like it.
- Give it a couple years, man.
Not even a couple years.
Just give it a couple months.
I'ma blow up.
I promise y'all that.
You heard?
- You know what?
I like the attitude.
That's the attitude
you supposed to have.
You know what I'm saying?
That's what's up.
So I'm saying--
so can we hear something?
- Which one you want?
- I want the one that
you think is the dopest.
Like, when you play something
for somebody,
you give them your best shot.
You don't give them
something you working on.
- I'ma make it when I'm 18
I'ma make it when I'm 18
Nigga, I was hoping
Living in the gutter,
got a single mother
Nigga, I was broken
Coming from the struggle,
niggas had to hustle
Niggas didn't notice
Coming from the struggle,
niggas had to hustle
Coming from that
soul search
Coming from
that soul search
Nigga, I was hoping
Living in the gutter,
got a single mother
Nigga, I was broken
- Who did the track?
You did the track?
What I hear,
what I hear in that is
who you was,
you know what I'm saying?
- Yeah.
- More than anything.
- It's basically--
it's just my pain, you feel me?
And I just put it in the song,
so I have it.
I feel like--
I don't know, man.
- We've all looked at life
like this ain't right,
this ain't fair.
And--and how do I
get out of here?
How do I get out of
this position?
I feel hopeless, right?
But you're saying,
"I was hopeless."
You're not saying
"I am hopeless."
I'm just telling you
what I'm hearing
and what I see in my head.
I'm like, wow, this is strong.
This is powerful.
That's a powerful piece.
That's a dope--that's a dope
rhyme, a dope hook.
- I appreciate that.
- You know what I'm saying?
- Want to hear some more songs?
- Yeah, yeah. I'm here to
hang out with y'all, man.
But I'm only trying to hear--
pardon my French--
I'm only trying to hear
dope shit.
I'm not into--I'm not into--
- You let me know if it's not.
- All right?
I'ma let y'all know.
I'm telling you.
All right, cool.
I'ma let you know.
A'ight, who's next?
- Talk to me.
- This you?
- Together forever
don't last
I need some energy
I'm running but
I ain't that fast
- "I'm running but I ain't
that fast," whoo!
- 'Cause everybody's
living it
What's love if it
ain't guaranteed?
Don't need no games,
no names
Don't need no time wasted
You slept on me,
so I vacated
I got no patience
If I get my heart
broke again
That's it,
I ain't doing it
What's love
if it ain't guaranteed
- Yo, pause that, pause that,
pause that.
That's fucking amazing.
- Thank you.
- You did that.
- I really--
I really appreciate it.
- Now, now, hold up, now.
Real quick,
before we move forward--
before we move forward--
students: I got no energy
- A'ight? Yo.
Now, real quick,
real quick, real quick,
why is this the best song?
- She put so much emotion
into it.
- she not worried about
what people doing today.
- Yeah.
- She got the most originality
I've ever heard.
- The track that she chose
differentiated her from
everyone here.
She was comfortable in
her authenticity.
She was comfortable in
who she was.
And I'm trying to
get somewhere,
but I'm not that fast--whoo!
- Right? That is hard.
- Whoo, that's hard.
That's hard.
You keep writing.
Yo, you nailed that.
You nailed that.
- I want to go next.
- Oh, you gon' go next?
- That's the--that's the one.
- I'ma show you what I wrote.
- Yeah? You said that
like you dead nice.
OK, here we go.
- You can hear me now?
- A lot of times, artists
and actors and entertainers
would have you believe that
it's magic, but it's not.
It's the result of efforts.
Today I have the wherewithal
to speak, to help, to share.
- Something
that's already there.
- Sometimes just giving
a compliment
or a constructive criticism
is exactly what's needed.
You play that over there, man.
You and Iyanna are the
Black Sheep of your class.
We're all the product of
some really horrific events,
as a community.
It's important that we start
bridging some of the gaps
between the generations.
I expect big things
from y'all.
Oh, my pleasure.
They're the seeds to beautiful
flowers in the future.
- Good song, brother.
Good song.
- Yes, yes, yes, citizens.
It's a new year.
They say patience is a virtue.
If that's the truth,
this is the
most virtuous person
you gon' see on the mic today,
the next big thing in hip hop,
the one and only Lola Brooke
is here.
Give her a big round
of applause.
- Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn,
Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn!
- Damn, man. I was nervous
when I saw you in the lobby.
- For real?
- Yeah, man, honestly.
- No, no!
- My man Sav sent me Lola's
new song called "Just Relax."
Immediately, after I listened
to it, like, what?
How did she pick this sample?
"This or That" by Black Sheep,
shout-out to Mista Lawnge
and Dres.
This was a huge hit
in the '90s,
and then you're making it
a huge hit in 2023.
This is "Just Relax."
Phone lines are open.
Lola Brooke is here. 888-7423.
- See, the 1,200s is
full power, though.
- Today we shooting my video,
"Just Relax," you know.
I'm not relaxing, though,
because I'm working.
- All right, guys, last look.
That's it. Last looks.
We're about to roll.
- Last looks.
This is really
a legendary sample
from the legendary song.
So I kinda was scared
to touch it because
a lot of people would be like,
my mom would say,
"girl, that right there,
when I was your age,
we was outside."
And I'm like, oh, my God.
- Roll camera.
- And playback.
- Yes, so good.
all: Girl!
- Bitches wan' be this
'cause I was always that
Niggas say they rich?
Let's keep it a stack
I ain't with the tic,
I be moving tac
Bitches say they it
Man, bitch, just relax
- Big record for you.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
No doubt, no doubt.
I feel good about it, too.
Like it's--I've had people
try to use the record.
And like, people always ask me
to kinda do something
with them with it and,
I mean, like, mm-mm.
Like, nah.
Like, you know, like,
I would never mess with it
it's always been right.
- Man, bitch, just relax
- But this is the only one
that I've actually thought
had a chance of, you know,
being successful
that I was like,
okay, I fuck with that.
- Taking pictures
like bitches
- All right, that's what's up.
- Got it.
- Just want to say hello
to you, lady.
- Oh, my God!
- I'm so happy for you.
You over here doing
tremendous things.
- Thank you for coming!
- You're killing it.
- Oh, you like it?
- I love it.
I'm over there looking at you,
- As long as you love it.
- I love it. I love it.
You are literally
the only person that I feel,
like, did something with it.
I love what you're doing.
- Really?
- And that's no bullshit.
I love it.
- Oh, that's a good day
for me, man, for real.
- Man, you got a lot of
good days ahead of you, lady.
- Oh, stone cold shit.
- Keep doing what you're doing.
You know what I'm saying?
- Dres is here at
the video shoot.
This is really
a legendary situation.
- Yo, keep rocking out.
I'm here--
- Are you here?
- Yeah, yeah,
I ain't going nowhere.
- I couldn't ask for anything
better than
the support from Dres,
for real, for real.
- I'm right here.
I'm right here. I'm coming.
- All right,
we're ready to reset.
Let's reset, reset, reset.
A pricey lil' thing,
they be ducking the fee
Chasing after checks,
they be running to me
Your man is the bro,
we ain't fucking, sis, please
- Woah, woah!
- Feels dope.
Dope energy.

That was hard.
- Yeah.
Every time it was action,
we was--we was--we was that.
One of--one of the things
that we did
with "The Choice Is Yours" was
we intentionally went down.
What you doing right now,
going side to side,
pick a part of the record--
- I was just about to say that.
- Pick the same part
every time.
- This to then--got you.
- A'ight?
- I just was saying it
to myself, like,
I gotta do the side--
- But you gotta--
But pick the part.
Pick the part, okay?
Pick the part in your head,
and keep it the same,
all right?
- I got you, I promise.
Watch it.
- No, no. OK, cool.
Yo, the energy is the same as
when I did mine--
- When you was doing it?
- Except y'all are all girls.
We was all boys.
- Oh, all right.
Well, we gon' eat y'all up.
- You know I'm saying?
That's what's up.
Word up.
Y'all balancing it out.
- Crazy 'bout mines,
better know how to fight
- I got left.
On my right.
To the left.
Bitch, just relax
- I'm Dres. Peace, man.
- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you, as well.
- Nice to meet you.
So we're gonna do--
we're gonna do
a little close up right here,
and then we're gonna do a wide.
And I want to have you come in
that one.
- Okay, sounds good.
- So we're gonna do
a little quick movement on her
then let you guys vibe out.
- Sounds cool. All right.
- Being a artist, it's always
a good feeling to know that
the ones that was here before
you actually accept you,
and they're willing to
guide you
and let you know
what is there to be expected.
I'm so grateful.

- Music allows you to carry
something with you.
Like, how I play
"The Choice Is Yours,"
she's gonna wind up
playing her song for years,
and years, and years.
And, at some point,
someone's gonna
want to do something with
her version,
if she's fortunate.
I was fortunate.

- When you think about
what hip hop is,
which is this incredible genre
and culture
that is inherently,
by its very nature,
based on past music,
like, that is what it is
at its core...
- That's hard. That is hard!
- whether it's Lola Brooke
sampling "The Choice Is Yours"
or Dres rapping over Dilla,
it's like, music has a moment,
and then it cycles around.
It's gone for a long time,
and then it's like,
whoa, it's back.
It's sort of like dying and
going back into the earth.
- That's what immortality is,
when people are still talking
about you when you're gone.
- That's how we supposed to be.
- Your spirit and your energy
still lives on,
and that's what
gives you life.
- The torch--the torch is
officially yours, all right?
- Oh, thank you!
- The torch is
officially yours.
- So many of our vets
are always thinking about
the next album
or the next tour
or when they're finally
gonna get back to
where they were back when.
Is it really more about
just this?
- Keep doing it,
you know what I'm saying?
- Thank you.
- This is just the beginning.
Keep doing it.
- Just the beginning.
- It's the idea that
your music can continue
to create more music...
- When I say Lola,
you say Brooke.
- Entering sort of
that ecosystem.
- Drive safe, bro.
- Oh, you, too.
Love is love, man, for real.
- Yo, I just wanna say thanks,
Dres, man.
You know what I'm saying?
We made this--
we definitely made this happen.
- Yeah, man. Yo, yo.
- I told you
when we was talking.
- Everyone always wants to
have that next moment.
Everyone wants to
get their flowers.
But sometimes maybe the
flowers are being given to you
and you're not even
looking that direction.
- You know what's gon' be
the best part?
When the kid is playing
Lola's verse,
and their parent is saying,
"no, this is--"
and the kid going to be like,
"you hear that? No, no, no."
Or the parents play theirs,
and they be like,
"oh, that's Lola Brooke."
They be like, no, no, no.
Let me hear your Dres.
Like, oh, that was Dres?
- I love that about it.
Oh, yeah, you know how they do.
- Yeah, I know.
- You know how they do.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
- I gotta go deal with this.
- Yeah, yeah.
Make sure everything good.
I'll talk to you.
Them boys be pulling up
on the set...
And there'd be times like this
brother like myself...
exit stage left.

- Yo, just--cops out here.

- Big up yourselves, word up.
Y'all got it going on.
Now, normally, normally, you
hear "The Choice Is Yours,"
that's, like,
the end of my shit.
But I got a project coming out
that's gon' blow
all y'all minds,
completely produced by
J Dilla, for real.
So maybe we'll introduce
a little bit of it to y'all,
you know what I'm saying?
Why not?
- I, baby,
don't need your love

I, baby,
don't need your love

I, baby,
don't need your love

I, baby,
don't need your love

No, I'll never stop living
No, I'll never
stop living
No, I'll never stop living
With this love