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

After the poster for “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” hit last week, I knew the trailer couldn’t be too far off. Of course, Sony (or was it just Yahoo!?) got the film’s recognizable actor-turned-director, Michael Rapaport, to introduce the ad, because stars can sometimes sell audiences on documentaries. Sure, the members of A Tribe Called Quest are stars in their own right, but Rapaport’s goofy face will have you smiling and drawn in before you even spot Q-Tip, Phife and Ali Shaheed Muhammad on the screen (following or intercut quickly with some more famous people like Common, Ludacris, Questlove, Pharell Williams and Beastie Boys). By the time the “Can I Kick It?” beats explode, you’re probably already hooked.

But if not, let me remind you all that this is not just a typical music biopic and being a fan of Tribe or any hip-hop is not required. The drama of this group, through its back story and more direct, current documentation, is must see stuff for anyone who enjoys movies. Rapaport has an inquisitive eye in doc-making I wouldn’t have pegged him for, and the result is one of the best non-fiction films of the year. Check out my review from Sundance for more praise and watch the trailer for the film, which opens July 8, over at Yahoo! Movies.

 

Tribe Called Quest Doc Hitting Theaters via Sony Pictures Classics

Of all the docs showing at Sundance this year, Michael Rapaport’s “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” was the only one friends back home were curious about. Maybe I just know more people into hip hop than are into chimps, physician-assisted suicide or the New York Times. Fortunately, those friends can soon see for themselves that it’s one of the best music docs in some time. Sony Pictures Classics has picked up distribution rights to the film, hopefully for theatrical release sometime this year.

Here is an excerpt from my review for Cinematical:

Obviously fans of A Tribe Called Quest are going to appreciate and enjoy this documentary, but as merely a minor follower of their music I think I can attest that it transcends that base audience. Once Rapaport brings us up to speed with more recently shot footage covering a behind the scenes peek at Tribe’s participation in the 2008 Rock the Bells tour, the confrontational moments have a dramatic power not unlike those seen in Ondi Timoner’s widely accessible ‘Dig!’