The Upful LIFE Podcast ep.062: DAN CHARNAS [author/journalist – Dilla Time book, NYU professor]


Welcome DAN CHARNAS! His latest book – Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm (2022) – is a New York Times Bestseller. Award-winning music and business journalist, author of four books, producer of records and television. Associate Arts Professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. In the 1980’s, Dan was part of the opening team at The Source magazine, in the 1990’s he worked A&R for Rick Rubin at American Recordings.

  • 3:00 – The Upful Update
  • 9:30 – introducing DAN CHARNAS & Dilla Time
  • 17:45 – INTERVIEW (102 min)

The product of four years of research and nearly 200 interviews, Dilla Time emerged from a course on J Dilla developed by Charnas at NYU in 2017, but its roots go back to Charnas’s time in the record business, when he first made the trip to Detroit to work with the producer then known as Jay Dee.

A huge fan of both Dilla & this expansive book, I’d been waiting since Feb.2022 to speak with Dan about this project, his process, & the Church of Dilla. I’ve listened to him on numerous podcasts in preparation for this conversation, still Dan was kind enough to give me nearly 100 minutes of his time and thoughtfully answered each inquiry with intention. This topic was so wide-ranging and engrossing that we didn’t have the time to get into his long, colorful career path, we stuck exclusively to Mr. Yancey.

As a music journalist and lifetime hip-hop head, Dan Charnas is nothing short of a North Star to me; as such it was an honor, privilege, and educational exercise to host him on Episode 062 of The Upful LIFE Podcast.


Vibe Junkie JAM

Oblighetto – Brother Jack McDuff (J Dilla remix)



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Theme Song: “Mazel Tov”– CALVIN VALENTINE