Beats, Rhymes & Life

I went to a Sunday Matinee today to watch “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” …it’s a documentary of the legendary hip hop group formed by Q-Tip, Phife Dog, Ali Shaheed and Jarobi. The film was directed by Michael Rapaport. First off, I really enjoyed watching this movie for the simple fact of it was like a hip hop journey, telling the tale of how Tribe came to be and touching up on the foundation of hip hop…especially during the era of my teenage years. I’ve always been drawn to east coast rap and their hip hop beats..I can still recall the first time I saw the video for “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo,” thinking wow…these guys are cool…so this doc brought me waaaay back!

I thought it was well done, documenting Tribe’s rise to fame and the new dimension they brought to the hip hop game, and as my boy GG said, the first half was “like a musicology.” More than anything, I loved to see the behind the scenes inner workings of the music game and how the group members interacted and dealt with everything that comes with being a rap star. The ending fell a little flat as I wish it had a little more insight to the fallout of the group, but maybe that’s just it, maybe there wasn’t more to show? Gosh, I remember going to Rock the Bells in 2008 in a steamy hot, HUMID Miami and other than it just being such an amazing event where the music touches your soul…it was a privilege to see Tribe on the stage together. Of course I had to cover it for Deco… Anytime I can push my agenda..I will! 😉

If you’re a hip hop head, “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” is a must see…brings you back to the “feel good” days of party rap. If you’re an aspiring artist, do yourself a favor and watch this… I’ve spent some time in and around the music industry and I think it’s SO IMPORTANT, especially for emerging (hip hop) artists to KNOW hip hop history. In the movie, Q-Tip said something like Hip Hop is the last American (musical) art form…and if you sit back and think about it, it’s true…it came from the Bronx to the mainstream. So all I’m saying is if you’re trying to make a come up in the industry, know the history, the musicians who laid the foundation and give respect. This documentary is one example of the power of the hip hop culture and its music.

3 Replies to “Beats, Rhymes & Life”

  1. I think you hit it on the head. At the end, you were like, “That’s it?” And the reality of the story is, like you said, there was probably not much to say. Rappaport could’ve ended it when they went to Japan and it could’ve been that happy ending, but he didn’t. Were you left with the idea that they could get back together and record one more time, or that it’s completely over?

  2. Nice review, Aubrey. Yeah, I vividly remember when I first watch the “I left my wallet in el segundo” video on Yo! MTV Raps and the stick figures doing the running man. Golden era hip-hop lives on!

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