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

October 18, 2011

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest – A Sony Pictures’ Release

http://www.sonyclassics.com/beatsrhymesandlife/

DVD Release Date: October 18th, 2011

Rated 14A for coarse language

Running time: 97 minutes

Michael Rapaport (dir.)

Madlib (music)

Q-Tip as Himself

Phife Dawg as Himself

Ali Shaheed Muhammad as Himself

Jarobi White as Himself

Our reviews below:

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

In the late 1980’s, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg formed the popular and highly influential hip hop and rap group named A Tribe Called Quest.  Considered by many to be the pioneers of modern urban music, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest follows the group from their early beginnings and shows us their inevitable break-up due to Phife Dawg’s severe diabetes and addiction to sugar.

As is hinted at in the opening scene, the film culminates with their recent reunion tour.  Director Michael Rapaport gives us a nice mix of interviews and performance footage, handling everything with a clear admiration of the musicians.  Although it helps if you have some prior knowledge of the musical history behind the film, this is an entertaining documentary that will be especially enjoyed by fans of A Tribe Called Quest.

The DVD includes commentary with Rapaport, deleted scenes, a featurette and footage from the red carpet premiere.

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest DVD Review by Erin V.  

**3/4 (out of 4)

When the commercially and musically successful group A Tribe Called Quest broke up in 1998 after years together, millions of fans both in and out of the industry were shocked and saddened.  This documentary takes us on a journey to meet the members of the band, get some insight into the break-up as well as give new listeners an appreciation for their music.

I found this to be an interesting look into a band I was not really all that familiar with.  Combining concert and recording footage with interviews from the band members as well as others in the industry, Beats Rhymes & Life is an interesting documentary that those interested in different styles of music, and especially fans of A Tribe Called Quest, will definitely want to see.

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Beats, Rhymes & Life follows the history and personal lives of A Tribe Called Quest.  The documentary shows both the African-American roots of hip hop music, as well as the connections between the band members of the popular group A Tribe Called Quest.  The group broke up in 1998, partly due to the fact that one of the members, nicknamed Phife Dawg, struggled with juvenile diabetes.  The ending, in which Phife’s wife does a really kind thing for him and the band comes together again for a concert tour, is really nice.  While those who know hip hop music will get more out of this film, Beats, Rhymes & Life will definitely please fans of A Tribe Called Quest.

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Back in the late 1980’s a group of hip hop musicians from Queen’s, New York got together and formed an incredibly popular band named A Tribe Called Quest.  Fans were shocked when the band suddenly broke up in 1998.  Director Michael Rapaport’s documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest offers insight into what went wrong.  Told through interviews with the key members of the band, the film is upbeat and entertaining.

While the DVD would be most appealing to fans of these talented artists, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest  provides a nice glimpse into a part of recent musical history.

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is a documentary following the influential hip hop group’s members from the beginning, through their breakup in 1998, to the 2008 reunion and occasional gigs since then at home and overseas. The three main members all grew up in the St. Albans area of Queens, home to many great musicians. Q-Tip (aka Kamal) and Phife Dawg (aka Malik) were childhood friends and Ali Shaheed Muhammad went to high school with Q-Tip. Jarobi White joined the group early on but left to pursue a culinary career and spend more time with his family.

Q-Tip is a great collector of rare records and brilliant DJ. The short high-voiced Phife is an avid sports fan. The breakup occurred when Phife, having moved to Atlanta and often ill from diabetes, felt slighted by Q-Tip’s perceived dominance, compared By Phife to Dianna Ross over the Supremes. Shaheed could only look on with sorrow at the rift between these two strong personalities. Jarobi White supported Phife with his diet and appeared with the group in the 1998 and later concerts that in part would allay his medical expenses.

Like the three founding members of the tribe, director Michael Rapaport was born in  1970 and as a proud New York actor has always embraced and been welcomed by urban culture, appearing in films by Spike Lee and others. The heart of the documentary includes long interview segments alternating between Q-Tip and Phife, with tributes from many other artists along the way and brief clips of musical appearances showing the group’s development and production of their three groundbreaking albums. Aside from a few shaky moments, the camera work is generally good, and the funky animated sequences during the film and titles are fun to watch.

For me, a documentary is successful if it holds my interest for a subject about which I knew almost nothing and cared less. Though it took some time for me to get the names and nicknames straight, I was drawn in by the stories of these gifted artists, which would be all the more rewarding for fans of their work.

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Consensus: Directed by Michael Rapaport, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is an upbeat and entertaining documentary that will be best enjoyed by fans of A Tribe Called Quest.  **3/4 (Out of 4)

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