A Tribe Called Quest Documentary: ‘Beats, Rhymes and Life’

Finally, a rap documentary that isn’t about Biggie or Tupac. Something for the non-drug dealing, hip-hop loving, 90’s nostalgic in all of us.

A Tribe Called Quest Documentary: 'Beats, Rhymes and Life'

A Tribe Called Quest is universally considered one of the preeminent groups in rap history, and the most influential in the alternative hip-hop movement. Their combination of jazz influences plus thoughtful, yet playful lyrics helped create a unique sound that continues to influence hip-hop to this day. Iconic album’s like “Low End Theory” and “Midnight Marauders” remain two of the greatest rap albums of all-time.

Their records also happen to be in constant rotation on the iPods of every middle-class white kid in the Tri-State Area. Tribe’s Caucasian connection is evidenced best by the documentary’s surprising director, Michael Rapaport. You might recognize the actor Rapaport from his tremendously pale complexion, strong New York accent, and propensity to play goofy white dudes in each of his film and TV roles.

The documentary covers the group’s rise and the creative influence Tribe had on the entire music industry. Rapaport’s interviews include Tribe’s contemporaries and eventual successors like Kanye West, The Roots and Mos Def. The film also captures the struggles and infighting that caused the group to break up and continue to plague them.

“Beats, Rhymes and Life” will premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival this winter.