Actor-turned-director, Michael Rapaport certainly was embroiled in PR drama with A Tribe Called Quest after the making of the film with the explosive email that was inadvertently sent to Q-Tip. But that beef certainly doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the documentary – really the film is universally qualified as a great statement of A Tribe Called Quest’s (ATCQ) importance to hip-hop music and culture. They really were the firsts to take hip-hop style and hip-hop music into a new direction with their jazzy, funky, fun, feel-good afro-centric attitudes. ATCQ made kids like myself discover the beauty of jazz music; the endless possibilities of being yourself; and the worth of being conscious. In “Excursions”, Q-Tip said it best:
Back in the days when I was a teenager
Before I had status and before I had a pager
You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop
My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop
I said, well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles
“Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” premiered at the Hollywood ArcLight last night with a special Q&A with Michael Rapaport and Phife Dawg. The “funky diabetic” admitted to movie-goers “Check The Rhime” was his favorite song and yes, he loved The Lakers despite being a New Yorker. One movie-goer went in on Rapaport by questioning why he didn’t want to give ATCQ film producer credit – the director evaded the question by telling the audience there’s great articles online explaining the drama.
“The film chronicles ATCQ’s reunion in 2008 during the Rock The Bells tour. The documentary is complete with candid interviews with those that knew them best and with producers and rappers highly influenced by ATCQ – from former ATCQ manager, Chris Lighty; Pharrel, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, Dres, De La Soul, Large Professor, Prince Paul; and Phife’s wifey, Deisha.
“Beats, Rhymes, and Life” Favorite Moments:
CHRIS LIGHTY: Complained of Q-Tip’s perfectionism. He said if it was up to Q-Tip, he would take seven years to turn in an album. One day Lighty had to take “Midnight Marauders” from Q-Tip so the album could finally be released.
PRINCE PAUL: All his peeps were talking about heading to the “Midnight Marauders” photo shoot, and he thought to himself why wasn’t he invited? The question still remains but he takes it all in stride.
Q-TIP: Wished he had never took the “gym-teacher” approach to dealing with Phife Dawg’s sugar addiction because it fueled the dissent with his childhood best-friend. He also mentioned how sad he became when Phife decided to move to Atlanta – he wanted ATCQ to forever live in the same city.
PHIFE DAWG: Told the camera he loves Kamaal to death but, there was a time he resented Q-Tip to the point where he asked, who the hell does he think he is “Diana Ross and I’m Florence Ballard?” Phife also admits he never liked his own voice. He couldn’t believe he called himself, “the funky diabetic.” To this day it still perplexes him.
PHARREL: He said if weren’t for ATCQ’s existence there would be no Pharrel. When he first heard Phife’s rhyme on “Check The Rhime” he said, “it was over” and wanted to be a part of hip-hop ever since.
The documentary is a limited release so catch it before it’s gone from the beautiful big-screen. For national showtimes information