Beats, Rhymes and Life was pretty much about the beginning and end of ATCQ through their travels and their drama. Among many other things that inspired them and how each individual discovered hiphop, they all met during their high school years. One thing I noticed about the film is that although it was talking about the diminishing friendships between Q-tip and Phife, the movie pretty much centers itself around Q-tip in one aspect or another.
The good thing about that is he tried to keep the group together in a business aspect, which garnered them the popularity they deserved. The bad part is that it was what drove a wedge in between his friendship with Phife, leaving Ali Shaheed Muhammad stuck in the middle watching this unfold in front of him.
The way that the movie has played out from the beginning was great. In my personal opinion, the movie isn’t really about the ‘travels of ATCQ’. The first portion of the movie was about them forming as a group, their influences, and their cliques. The HUGE second was about their “actual” travels, their albums, music production, and their early drama within the camp (particularly Q-tip and Phife). The 3rd was more about Phife Dawg dealing with his diabetes, and the end result with the drama between him and Q-Tip.
In a sense I wish the movie showed how the breakup affected the other memebers of the group, in particular: Ali Shaheed Muhammad. He was around from the beginning to the end watching this unfold in front of him…
“I’m Q-Tip,… and Im a sick puppy.”
“I love Q-Tip, but he’s a fuckin’ nut… he would be the first to tell you that, hopefully.”
– Barry Weiss
Now, here’s my summary…
“This is A Tribe Called Go-Figure…” – Phife Dawg
The ‘go-figure’ in that sense means to me that you’ll never know what you’re going to get when they present themselves in the public eye, whether is through music, live shows, or just in general. It’s just authentic and much more real for the average person to see. Although they’ve been through their hardships, this movie definitely shows you the true meaning of friendship altogether. The film is definitely a piece of history well worth seeing. From the influences of other artists, the hip-hop culture, and how they definitely molded themselves into being one of the most innovative hip-hop groups of all time; ATCQ has definitely set the bar THAT much higher by being timeless.
Just like any popular rap group that’s out today, you’re obviously going to have your differences. It’s all about how you make things work out for the long haul that gives you the longevity, and they went through it all. This movie right here should definitely be the blueprint for any of today’s leading and upcoming/aspiring artists to see how to make it in this tough game. De La Soul, for example, is one of those groups who have withstood the tragedies of time to make it in this business today. Like families, you’re going to go through your disagreements, but you learn to come and settle them and keep it pushin’. Even if you’re not an ATCQ fan, you should check it out just for the sake of hip-hop. It’s REALLY worth seeing!
“ATCQ have always been my comforter, my go-to albums in important times whether good or bad and the one act that makes me fall in love with hip-hop over and over. The first half of this flick reminded me just how out-of-the box artists should be to truly make an impact on history, the second half reminded me just how tenuous it can be working alongside and having such chemistry with someone close to your heart. Familiarity breeds contempt, but in this case at least it seems to also breed timeless music. To think I almost forgot what the early 90’s felt like, incredible regression session. Most important hip-hop film in years, possibly ever, but my opinion is biased in this case.”
“Really is a must see for anyone interested in what is one of the greatest music acts of all time, let alone hip hop. Takes you from the beginning and it doesn’t miss a thing, from how fire escapes, basketball courts and radios inspired and created A Tribe Called Quest to the breakdown that lead to the final album over a decade ago. The audience doesn’t need to be a ATCQ fanatic to get the film either; it works well with a range of audiences. And let’s be honest, any hip hop fan should give this a watch just for soundtrack alone, when the beginning credits role to the tune of ‘Can I Kick It’, you know you’re gonna be jammin. A detailed, intense and wonderfully made film examining the existense of a group of artists who almost literally define hip hop. If you can catch it, make sure you do.”
“The story of ATCQ is at times told as well as any fan could hope, as Michael Rappaport shines as a true hip hop bard, whilst at other times it avoids getting its teeth into certain areas and people that would have made it near perfect. However the film in its entirety is an important piece in the canon of cinema that has been capturing snapshots of the hip-hop genre over the years of its life. By focusing on the break-up, both as a dramatic catalyst to sustain the “plot” and as a candid view on the realities on music and relationships, it graduates from a fan film into a cultural commentary.”
“Overall I like the documentary, it gives an amazing overview and insight into the group and their history. For me the stamp of something being dope whether it be music, art, or in this case film is to provoke an emotional response which then gets you thinking. I felt it fully achieved that goal for me, the whole thing is a bit of an emotional roller coaster as the story progresses, leaving me happy and optimistic as well as a bit sad and even a little bit angry at times. I won’t name specifics on those points because I don’t want to give anything away for those of you who haven’t been able to watch it. having said all that I don’t think that this film is a revolutionary and genre defining piece but it certainly ticks all the boxes for what i had expected of it. On the downside I would have liked to have heard a bit more from other artists who were around a the time and even from those who were of a different style of the hip hop genre, but I’m sure the DVD release will fill in those gaps. All in all well worth the wait and hype so don’t sleep!”
– Word Is Bond Team Afterthoughts