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Movie Review: Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

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If you were born in the late ’70s and grew up listening to hip-hop music, you may recall first hearing “Bonita Applebum” or “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” by the group A Tribe Called Quest. You may have even been born in the late ’80s and didn’t know who A Tribe Called Quest was until you heard “Find A Way.” Maybe you just started listening to the group after finding out “Vivrant Thang” rapper Q-Tip was once a part of one of the most influential hip-hop groups. Either way, Tribe touched generations of hip-hop audiences. This intense documentary is for those who may either be interested in learning more about the group or those who have listened to the group’s music but were left wondering “Yo, what ever really happened with Tribe?”

With cameos by artists such as Pharrell Williams of the hip-hop group N.E.R.D., Busta Rhymes, Common, and female rapper Monie Love, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest follows Tribe throughout their reunion on the 2008 Rock The Bells Tour, after what was a very public split right before their final album’s release in 1998.

Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport directed the documentary, and he did an excellent job at making sure fans and even those unfamiliar with the group were able to gain a better understanding of Tribe’s background.  But this was only after group member Q-Tip took to Twitter and other outlets to publicly acknowledge his disapproval of the documentary’s release.

I am in no way, shape, or form Danyel Smith the music journalist, but instead I am DeAnne Bradley, a fan of all things entertaining. This is one of those documentaries that will make you cherish friendship as well as good music. If there were an extended, more “real” version of VH1’s Behind the Music, this would be even better than that.

Watching Tribe’s journey with group members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White reminded me of what former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi said: “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” But was it enough to make the Tribe work?

Although rated R for some of the language, Beats, Rhymes & Life, named after a Tribe album of the same name, can be seen as one of the more emotional hip-hop documentaries that will have you bobbing your head to the beats and rhymes.  Equally, the film is about getting a grip on the reality that is life. This film will definitely show you the heart in hip-hop.

To see when Beats, Rhymes & Life is available in a theater near you, click here.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

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About DeejBradley

DeAnne “Deej” Bradley is the founder of the public relations firm Sure Media Group. A native of Atlanta, Deej has also lived and worked in both Los Angeles and New York City. Bradley obtained her B.A. in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in sport management from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She has a passion for family, good food, traveling, the arts, helping other people and, of course, the Atlanta Falcons.
  • iHeartallGenres

    this seems like a method you are using to plug yourself instead of an actual informative article. nice to cite a professional journalist but why include yourself? this seems a bit pretentious of yourself don’t you think? stick to the artist and the main focus of the article. quite tacky. anywho, better luck next time Deanne Bradley.

  • DJ Troy

    ROTF LOL@ iHeart I do agree with you, it was a self absorbed move on her part. I will check out more of Danyel’s work though, she is the truth! LOL