My first encounter with A Tribe Called Quest was in the early 90’s, whilst perusing through my older sisters cd collection. I was maybe 6 at the time, and the cool looking green black and red colors of the color had me hooked. Looking back, listening to The Low End Theory would help shape my music appreciation for all time to come.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and I walk the grounds of Rock the Bell 2008 in Los Angeles. Behind the Hype’s first festival coverage, the sights and sounds amazed us. There were a plethora of familiar faces, with one of them standing out a little more than the rest.

 

It was Michael Rapaport, toting around a small DV camera around the backstage lot. I didn’t know why that dude from Higher Learning was hanging backstage at a rap show, but I figured it was for good reason. Three more years later, and we are invited to screen a movie about A Tribe Call Quest, and the face of Mr. Rapaport is all over the preview video. It all made sense; A Tribe Called Quest at the festival years before, with Michael and his camera.

Being in love with odd culture and music, Michael’s masterpiece documentary titled Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest would be right up my alley. Originally debuting at the Sundance Music Festival in January, it told the background story of the great rise to power of the Hip Hop pioneers. I’ve seen several music documentaries, and I must say, I was not expecting the emotional rollercoaster that I received.

 

Starting from their humble beginnings in New York, all four members of ATCQ tell their emotional story; with plenty of laughs, but also with their bruised emotions strewn about the nearly 2 hour film. Don’t worry though; the film is so engaging that you don’t want to leave your seat in fear of missing a juicy detail.

Also peppering the film are interviews with prominent members of the music community, the most entertaining for me being all-star producer Pharrell Williams. Throughout the film he had us all laughing with his sheer appreciation of one of the greatest rap groups of all time.

I won’t spoil the film for you, but if you even generally like music or documentaries, you will be at the very least be entertained by this outstanding film endeavor. Hats off to Michael Rapaport no doubt about it. Check out the movie’s website for an intro video from the director, and also check out when the movie comes to a select theater near you. For all you Los Angeles kats, the film drops at the Arclight in Hollywood on July 8th!

We got the jaaaazz, we got the jazz..

Until next time my friends,

~Flak