Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nostalgic Cinema: "Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest"

Photo via Movies are Films
File this under "News That Makes Me Extremely Happy." Without question, A Tribe Called Quest is one of the greatest hip-hop acts of all time. For me and other fans who came of age in the '90s, their timeless tracks - full of clever samples, inventive flow, and ever-underlying consciousness - pretty much DEFINED hip-hop in my eyes, and going on two decades later I find myself unconsciously mouthing Tribe lyrics whenever their songs pop on.

Which is why I'm very pleased to report that the long-awaited documentary chronicling their career, Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, is finally premiering to the public here in NYC beginning tomorrow. Tickets are on sale for showtimes at Landmark Sunshine Cinema, and you had better believe that I'm going to be there tomorrow night.

The documentary, directed by Michael Rapaport (who has come a long way from working with Dave Chappelle at PopCopy), has attracted a great deal of attention from media and fans since its inception - plus high-profile controversy from members of ATCQ itself. Rapaport began following the legendary crew around in 2008, capturing their celebrated reunion after their unexpected split in 1998 and delving into the group's creative process and deep interpersonal relationships.

For fans of A Tribe Called Quest or of music in general, it's promising to be an amazing viewing experience - early reviewers have been floored, like Wyatt Closs of The Huffington Post who says, "While sounding like a baby boomer droning on about how the Beatles were the greatest of all time and everything else is an empty shell, I'm brought to that temptation about A Tribe Called Quest after seeing a love letter to hip-hop called Beats, Rhymes, and Life, the documentary about them. The passion, heartache, energy, raw honesty, complaints, hope, and dismay of a love letter is all there." Rapaport himself backs up this assessment in an exclusive letter to Landmark Theater, saying "For me A Tribe Called Quest meant the same thing as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or The Rolling Stones... I was determined to create a film that didn't feel contrived or supplementary. I wanted to achieve the same rare and raw truth ATCQ captured in their music."

Psyched? Damn right you are. Check out the trailer below, grab a ticket, and remember how awesome ATCQ is with the videos I posted.

and of course...

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