Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
A documentary film directed by Michael Rapaport about one of the most influential and groundbreaking musical groups in hip-hop history. Having released five gold and platinum selling albums within eight years, A Tribe Called Quest has been one of the most commercially successful and artistically significant musical groups in recent history, and regarded as iconic pioneers of hip hop. 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 seems to diminish. A hard-core fan himself,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This authorized documentary is more of a celebration of the legendary Queens quartet than a serious exploration of their art. But considering how brilliant they were at their peak, it's hard to disagree with the general sentiment."
‑ Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
"A combination of timing, access, a visual aesthetic that reflects ATCQ's Afrocentric "surface philosophy" (as the crew's look is described) and, most importantly, story-conscious editing elevates the doc above the norm."
‑ Jennie Punter, Globe and Mail
"[I]t might have been nice if the documentary had worked a bit harder to find a real internal narrative."
‑ Glenn Dunks, Trespass
"Rapaport, clearly a fan, is able to capture both the ongoing love and the tension within the band."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"This documentary therefore did exactly what a good music doco should do: brought people like me up to speed and, according to reports from more serious hip hop fans in the audience, provided lots of information that wasn't previously well known."
‑ Thomas Caldwell, Cinema Autopsy
"Rapaport gets at the dynamics of a group that struggles even now to get along well enough to get paid - again."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Thanks to a particularly even-handed job by director Michael Rapaport, the story emerges as compelling, even for non-fans in the audience."
‑ Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic
"While it's uncertain if A Tribe Called Quest will ever get back together and play again, it's quite certain fans will love and appreciate BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST as their final encore."
‑ Chase Whale, Gordon and the Whale
"Warning: The bassline Ron Carter contrived for the classic cut 'Buggin' Out' is about as easy to dislodge from your brain as a 'Night Gallery' earwig."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"An adoring, though enlightening, look at the tumultuous run of the influential hip-hop group."
‑ Mike Scott, Times-Picayune
"Despite accusations of nearly succumbing to spotlighting beefs over beats, the film comes off as an honest representation of a great group that's not to be forgotten."
‑ Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The movie gets the beats and rhymes down pat, but the life part is a little messy. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad."
‑ Adam Graham, Detroit News
"Rappaport covers a huge spectrum of voices and opinions, and the themes he explores get into personal relationships -- something everyone can relate to."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"Maybe I'm just a sucker for good old fashioned hip-hop, but I found Michael Rapaport's totally-by-the-numbers music doco [Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest] absolutely compelling."
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"That mood of musical unity, of a sonic movement, is incredible, vibrantly recounted in Beats. It's more than just a documentary, it's a time capsule of hip hop originality and confidence."
‑ Brian Orndorf, BrianOrndorf.com