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

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Product Details

  • Actors: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg
  • Directors: Michael Rapaport
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004Z29WWG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,928 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Director Michael Rapaport
Bringing Beats to Life
On the Red Carpet at the Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere
Group Dynamics
Will A Tribe Called Quest Make More Music?
A Message From Zulu Nation Featuring Mike G of Jungle Brothers

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A Tribe Called Quest has been one of the most commercially successful and artistically significant musical groups in recent history. The band’s sudden break-up in 1998 shocked the industry and saddened the scores of fans, whose appetite for the group’s innovative musical stylings never seem to diminish. This insightful film, directed by Michael Rapaport, takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes journey - chronicling the group's rise to fame and revealing the stories behind the tensions which erupted in the years to come.


When a Tribe Called Quest emerged from Queens in the 1980s, there wasn't another hip-hop outfit that sounded exactly like them. Their unique mix of jazz, funk, and creatively conscious lyrics struck a chord, but 10 years later, they called it a day. In his first feature, actor/filmmaker Michael Rapaport, a native New Yorker, charts their history, celebrates their success, and tries to figure out what went wrong. He starts with their origins "on the boulevard of Linden" before turning to Phife Dawg's move to Atlanta and the Rock the Bells Tour, for which they reunited, only to fall apart again. The group members, including Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jabroni White, tell the story in their own words, while admirers, like De La Soul and the Roots, testify to their impact. With editorial assistance from director A.J. Schnack (Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns), Rapaport focuses on the relationship between Phife and Q-Tip, who share the same sort of yin and yang chemistry that has fueled legendary acts from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin. A "funky diabetic" in casual garb, Phife enjoys sports as much as music, while the dapper Q-Tip can't imagine doing anything else. The two have even differed over the film; while Phife has helped to promote it, Q-Tip has been publicly dismissive, but Rapaport is about as fair as a dispirited fan can be, and he concludes with an engagement in Japan where the two put their egos aside--at least for a few hours. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

It is one of the best in depth music documentaries I've ever seen.
Navigating those negatives and achieving a goal for the greater good is what a working relationship is all about.
Cornelius DeMarcus
I can honestly say I can watch this documentary 100+ times and still not get over it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Cornelius DeMarcus on November 5, 2011
Format: DVD
First off: I loved Phife from jump. He became a better MC on the 2nd album but there is something fantastic about hearing an MC when they are an unpolished diamond. I wouldn't change anything about his contribution to People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. I always respected Q-Tip as the leader of the group. That is undeniable. However, there was never a Tribe without Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi, Phife AND Q-Tip together. Everybody played an indispensable role in making ATCQ what it became.

A Tribe Called Quest are like the standard of greatness to me. They are my favorite music group. Outside of my friends and family I love them more than anything. When I think of great collaborating vocalists I put Q-Tip and Phife at the top of the pile. That includes John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Andre 300 and Big Boi and Run and DMC. Their chemistry was so perfect that it just seemed like it was meant to be. I was a great fan of hip-hop. I was a total hip-hop junkie BEFORE they came out. Then Jungle Brothers came along - then De La Soul - then A Tribe Called Quest. I never knew that I could have such a deep appreciation for something until they flipped the script on the music paradigm.

Michael Rapaport did an amazing job. I am awestruck that the first choice for a feature length hip-hop documentary that played in movie theaters was made for A Tribe Called Quest. They sold millions of records but they never sold records like Eminem, Jay-Z, Tupac or Biggie (or quite a few other acts). Not even close. The choice of A Tribe Called Quest was a wise choice. Their influence has now spanned at least two generations of hip-hop. Every Tribe fan that I know is a die hard loyalist like myself.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Jacobs Jr. on August 17, 2011
Format: DVD
This is an amazing documentary. My hats go off to everyone involved. There are things you would not believe went on behind the scenes just by looking at the picture of this legendary hiphop group.
I cannot stop watching this.
If you are a TRUE hiphop fan and not a overnight or band wagon fan just to get attention from someone, this DVD is for you.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By B.A. McGillicutty on December 18, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Thank you Michael Rapaport, for taking the time and energy to film this documetary about the very talented and soulful ATCQ.
I've loved ATCQ since the early 90s. As a kid, their albums were the few that my mother would purchase for me, as they didn't have parental advisory warnings on them. I assumed that this documentary, directed by Michael Rapaport, would re-visit and re-open those days and this music that was so positive and so absolutely refreshing in contrast to ATCQ's less creative less optimistic 'hip hop' contemporaries
Unfortunately, this documentary has a very negative overtone which overshadows the uplifting and healing music that ATCQ produced in the 90s.
As a fan, I understand, through having read countless articles, that Phife and Q-Tip have had a rocky relationship: so what? This should not have been the bedrock, the foundation, of this film. Perhaps this was unintentional. A little more work, however, could have revealed a less abrasive plot line to follow. I felt the abrasiveness of this documentary from the beginning, as Phife spoke about his relationship to Q-Tip. This continued to the end of the film, when Q-Tip was not present at the film's debut. Michael Rapaport, this did not have to be your plot line. I wish you'd picked a more positive narrative to follow.

I think that I speak for a lot of ATCQ's more astute fans, when I say that we would have loved to have learned more about how the brilliant Ron Carter came to work on "The Low End Theory." Or how the Q-Tip, Large Professor and Pete Rock combined their powers for their various projects. Or what about the very "purrrrrrty" (says Mos Def in Black Star liner notes) Vinia Mojica? What about the Ummah? What about the Soulquarians? Where did Consequence come from?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Antich on October 19, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
ATCQ is hands down the best Hip Hop group that has ever lived - no disrespect EPMD, DeLa, Run-Dmc etc. The documentary shows the chemistry that made them great and also caused them to fall apart. Q-tip & Phife are like brothers and like brothers they fight over stupid stuff. They both love each other, but they both can't stand each other at the same time. Q-tip knows that he is the creative force of the group and he can't understand why Phife won't go along with his vision. Phife can't understand why Q-tip thinks he should be in control and there lies the conflict. Both think they are right and the other is wrong. This tension is what made the group outstanding and also bound for a breakup. Michael Rapaport shows both sides of the story in a very unbiased way, which helps the movie to be great. I would have liked to have seen all the group members sit down and be interviewed at the same time, but you can have everything. So 4 out of 5 mics for me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Bowling on February 25, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Excellent documentary. Amid the controversy before the cinematic release where the execs vowed to "f--k Tribe" out of their credits & backend dollars & beef with director Michael Rappaport edits & titling, Rappaport has crafted a great film that stays truthful to is subjects: A Tribe Called Quest. The excitement of hearing Tribe songs in this context all over again is enough for the viewing of this release. On Blu-Ray the masterful performances & production of Tribe is highlighted even more, the clarity is top-choice.

The extras are a wonderful bonus. Explanations of the Native Tongue's demise straight (out the jungle) from mouths of members of Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Black Sheep, Monie Love, etc. are revealing and entertaining. Comments from pioneers like Kool DJ Red Alert on his involvement and Voilator 'Baby' Chris shed even more insight into the complex world of this genre changing crew.

The less than 24-hour delivery fro Amazon Prime was a shocking benefit, better than on-demand. Everything was of the highest quality & treament, props to Am & the makers of the dvd.

Most of all respect to Tribe for sharing even more of their instinctive travels.
A Tribe Called Quest, represent-represent.
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