Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

Genre:  Documentary, Musical
Running Time:  97 min.
Release Date: July 29, 2011 (limited)
DVD: October 18, 2011

Current rating: Rating: 3.86
based on 14 votes and 5 reviews
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In just eight years, A Tribe Called Quest, the band whose jazz-infused music and Afrocentric rhymes made them iconic pioneers in hip hop, released five albums, with three going platinum (including Beats, Rhymes & Life) and two gold. But the band's mysterious breakup in 1998 shocked the industry and saddened fans.

The split left a generation hungering for more—until 2008, when band members (Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jorobi White) reunited to perform sold-out concerts across America. As tensions mount, it all comes to a head when a backstage blowout erupts at an event in San Francisco.

The film traces the group's career, right from its beginnings in Queens, New York, where the members were childhood friends. Forming the band in 1985, they immediately eschewed the jaded posturing associated with hip hop. Interviewees like New York's legendary DJ Red Alert, as well as fellow artists Monie Love, the Jungle Brothers, Busta Rhymes and De La Soul talk about those early days. It seems every ATCQ album has a unique story behind it.

Director: Michael Rapaport
Studio: Mongrel Media
Producer(s): Robert Teitel, Eric Matthies, Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler
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  • 5 stars "unreal one of the best"
  • 4 stars "Very good documentary on one of the best hiphop groups of all-time. So many memorable songs, albums, and touring experiences. Can't go wrong with Rapaport / Q-Tip / Phife / Ali Shaheed Muhammad,etc. '80s through 2000s hiphop at its / their best."
  • 4 stars "I've been a fan since the early days, and it sure was a treat to see, and hear them again! I really enjoyed this film!"