Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called QuestFeature Film | Michael Rapaport By Josh Ralske
An imperfect vehicle for some of the best rap music ever.
Beats, Rhymes & Life is clearly a labor of love for actor-turned-filmmaker Michael Rapaport, and his documentry is sure to delight other Tribe Called Quest fans, and enlighten those unfamiliar with the hip-hop act. Perhaps his low-key, respectful approach is what allows Rapaport to get rappers Q-Tip and Phife Dawg to open up to him. They share their feelings about the rise of the group, its dissolution, and their volatile "love-hate" relationship as lifelong friends and creative partners. (Tip, a driven perfectionist, tends to boss around the more low-key Phife.) There's a lot to work with here, but it often feels as though Rapaport is trying to ramp things up. In several instances, the director apparently interviews the two separately, reporting back to each what was said about the other. While Tip and Phife are articulate, funny, and insightful in these discussions, the film still doesn't come to a dramatically satisfying conclusion. It's stronger when Tribe members, collaborators (De La Soul), and descendents (Mos Def) are talking about the music—who knew that "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" was inspired by Fred Sanford?—and it feels truly essential when that music is actually being played, live or on the soundtrack. One might question whether or not non-fans will appreciate this documentary. The correct answer: "Who cares about those people?"
|Beats, Rhymes & Life Trailer|