Black Sheep MC Dres is celebrating the release of his new documentary, The Choice Is Yours, which not only tells his story but also his connection to J Dilla and Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey. As noted in the film description, The Choice Is Yours “is the story of rapper and artist Andres ‘Dres’ Vargas-Titus, part of the legendary ’90s Hip-Hop duo Black Sheep, and his incredible journey from being on top of the game to struggling with civilian life and staring down the barrel of his last chance at success. Along the way he meets Maureen Yancey, aka Ma Dukes, mother to music icon J.Dilla who gifts him with a hard drive of unreleased Dilla beats and tasks him with creating the next great Dilla record.”
Directed and edited by Clark Slate, the film debuted via Paramount+ on Tuesday (November 21) in the United States and will land in U.K., Australia, Latin America, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria on Wednesday (November 22). On the day of its premiere, Dres headed to Times Square in New York City, where he posed in front of a giant ad for the film. He wrote in the caption, “Today is the manifestation of Gods will… beyond grateful.. the ever present.. choice.”
Several of his peers—including Naughty By Nature’s Vin Rock, DJ Spinna, Camp Lo’s Geechi Suede and Fredro Star—congratulated him in the comment section.
Dres first opened up about the J Dilla project and film in a January interview with Rock The Bells, saying, “I didn’t have that relationship with Dilla that the rest of the Native Tongues did. I had only met her once in passing. So it was kind of cool to really get to know her [Ma Dukes]. She was telling me about her son and I got a deeper understanding than the average person of who Dilla was. We got cool, her and her husband. They offered me the opportunity to put a project together after they got some rights back under the umbrella of the estate.”
Dres recruited Bun B, Chuck D, Del The Funky Homosapien, Freeway and Sauce Money, to name few, for the initial album, but it quickly ballooned into more.
“I was approached by a company called Versus to shoot a documentary about it,” he said. “We started filming. I went back to Puerto Rico and to Detroit to kick it with Dilla’s childhood friends and have conversations about Dilla. The project itself got green-lit by Paramount+.”
The project has been a point of contention—at least on Ma Dukes’ side. Speaking to Rolling Stone in March, Ma Dukes denied Dres had her blessing to release an album called Dilla & Dres. A representative for Ma Dukes said at the time, “Anything Dres is doing on his side, we need to make sure the music is put aside and no one else can use it—and that’s the problem. I have not listened to the music. I don’t think Ma has listened to the music. If Toney [Ma’s husband] has listened to the music, he has not given me the green light.”
Dres appeared to think he already had the green light, telling a crowd at the National Hip Hop Museum, “Through the blessing of Ma Dukes and my man Toney, I’ve been allowed to visit a sacred land.”
An update on the album has yet to be announced. Until then, watch The Choice Is Yours trailer below and find the full doc on Paramount+.