Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
Documentaries tend to excel when the director is passionate about the subject that he is, well, documenting. Michael Rapaport’s ‘Beats, Rhymes and Life’ is another summer documentary that is highly entertaining and refreshing to watch. Along with Buck, and the upcoming Tabloid, these documentaries are giving this summer a well deserved ‘culture wash’ to offset the crappy summer blockbusters that have come out.
Rapaport starts from the beginnings of A Tribe Called Quest, which was formed in 1985, through their break up in 1998 and their reunion tour in 2008. The film addresses the ‘beef’ between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, which was mildly interesting but the film made it seem like it was that serious but rather it made the rappers seem like sensitive teenage girls getting mad over he-said-this kind of drama.
Beats, Rhymes and Life was made as broad as possible as way to connect an audience that isn’t familiar with the group or Hip-Hop in general. As a mild fan of Hip-Hop I was more than informed and the artistic visuals made even the ‘slow’ parts interesting (slow to non Hip-Hop fans). I would have like to have seen more footage of Q-tip’s method of making beats rather than the vapid feud that broke up the band.
Every Hip-Hop fan should watch the film to gain an appreciation of a group that influenced a whole generation of rappers and producers. Even those not interested in Hip-Hop will appreciate the culture at a specific time in history and will be more rewarding than going to see some mindless action flick.