Recently I watched the film, “Beats, Rhymes & Life,” it’s the documentary directed by Michael Rappaport about the one of my favorite bands of all time, A Tribe Called Quest. I just needed to write about the flick because I enjoyed it so much and I definitely wanted to help get the word out about the film.
I went to see it with my girl and we both graduated in 1993, so this group was of the bands that definitely make up that sound track of our lives. Revisiting this band and seeing their travels was like going back in time and revisiting my own past. This film talked to me on so many levels, their history felt like a piece of my history. Seeing a band that is from the (what I consider in my life) “Golden Era” of Hip Hop. Theses were cats that I listened to and looked up to. The music inspired me and still does… The whole film really touched me and just brought back the feeling of what made me start writing back in the day… The rhymes… the poems. And also the film struck a chord in me because ultimately the story and the struggles of the band was a the story and struggles of a family. And this I know of well, both of being in a band with my family and having my family being filled with artist all in business with each other in one way or another.
And the music… man, the music sounds just as good today as it did back then. Today there is so much discussion and debate about new school verse old school. This Golden Era verse today’s sound and artist. I can’t say what is ultimately the best, like anything, it always comes down to what’s best for you… But for me, that was the time and that was the sound. I mean, I can say this, for better or worse rap became “Pop” music and the impact on the world today has been immense. But back in those days, it wasn’t “Pop” music, it was underground and the approach was different, the artist weren’t going after a popular sound, they were more in search of their sound. I guess I’ve always connected to that, and still do.
And as far as Tribe goes as the crew, I have so much more respect for them as a group and as individuals after seeing this flick. The brilliants of Q-tip, I mean I always knew he was dope, but I didn’t realize how much he produced and seeing how he put together the beat for Can I Kick It? was amazing. Phife Dog’s lyrical was always on point and perfect accompany to Tip, but to see his whole story was touching and heartbreaking, the spiritual side of Ali Shaheed Muhammad and getting to know the ever elusive Jarobi. If your a Hip Hop head, you have to see this film… I really want to see it again.
One of the great things that happened is, as the credits rolled I stayed in my seat to see little clips at the end, played along with a mix of Tribe music and I look around to see that the theatre is still full, no one had left. We were all there till the last credit rolled… bobbing our heads to the beat.