Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson have been working together on a wide variety of projects, beginning in 2004 when Niño hired Atwood-Ferguson's string quartet to perform on Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio's Love is the Answer (Ninja Tune). The J Dilla production “Antiquity” also comes from this project.
Suite for Ma Dukes initially began in 2007, on what would have been Dilla's 33rd birthday, when Niño & Atwood-Ferguson recorded and released their strings, brass and reeds-only version of J Dilla & Common’s “Nag Champa” to DJs, producers and fans over the internet for free. They had written the entire piece to accompany the record as a their tribute to Dilla, feeling that the producer was still in the track not by his presence but by his absence.
The 4 tracks on Suite for Ma Dukes cover Dilla's productions from “Antiquity” and “Nag Champa”, A Tribe Called Quest's “Find a Way” and Slum Village's “Fall in Love”.
Early in 2009 the project received the official blessing from Ma Dukes herself.