Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
Michael Rapaport, US, 2011, 97'
The bridge between last year’s 90s and the 00s of this Out Loud edition is a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest, a hip hop group that is also representative of the increasing popularity of this musical style in the Western music culture of the noughties. In 1985, the four friends from Queens, New York were still high school students who were crazy about hip hop; five years later, they had world fame. Their story runs parallel to the history of the hip hop genre itself and also embodies its reinvention. Together with De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers - all part of a loose cluster known as Native Tongues - A Tribe brought innovation through their inclusive worldview, lyrical development, creative production and playful artfulness in the world of hip hop that often takes itself too seriously.
The documentary works its way through the five albums of the group and contains, in addition to the reviews of A Tribe, the comments of contemporaries Great Professor, Pete Rock, Busta Rhymes and the Beastie Boys. But instead of just a nostalgic look back, director Michael Rapaport cleverly chooses to intervene in the more recent dramas within the group; more specifically the tensions which flared up between band members Phife Dawg and Q-Tip during a series of reunion concerts in 2008. In this way, he not only captures the camaraderie, the appetite for, and fun of, making music, but also the difficulty in holding those feelings when niggles and disagreements build up.
© Dalton Distribution / Autlook