Video: Michael Rapaport on A Tribe Called Quest Documentary

Inspiring the Film - Michael Rapaport from Will Leather Goods on Vimeo.

A few months ago a trailer entitled "Beats, Rhymes and Fights" dropped and got us all very excited (in my case dubious because of the title), and extremely anxious to see the Tribe Called Quest documentary now thankfully titled "Beats, Rhymes and Life" Michael Rapaport has made. I can't reveal my sources on pain of death, but I saw the film a couple of weeks ago and it is awesome.

It would be stating the blindingly obvious to say that the documenting of culture is really important, but in this instance it moved me deeply and honestly has changed my perspective. I was slightly too young to follow ATCQ and the whole Native Tongues movement at the time, (the first CDs I bought with Tribe members on them were Amplified and Lucy Pearl - long since corrected I promise). So to see the journey, the beautiful optimism, the incredible music right from the early days, and how as a group Tribe (and their musical peers) grew was an amazing experience.

Part of me felt afterwards that despite being a big fan I have never really felt hip hop culture deeply enough before watching this film - it physically picks you up and transports you to a more idealistic time when the stakes were infinitely higher than money and success, and suddenly your sense of possibility is ignited. In a way the progression through to the present illustrates the stark contrast of culture vs industry (which hip hop has of course now become foremost for many), as the band argued their way reluctantly through the Rock The Bells Tour '08 to pay for Phife's medical bills, rather than a heartfelt reunion. I'm not one to yearn for the golden age of anything but it's hard not to compare such artistic integrity with some of the emerging "artists" that get major investment today and wonder why we allowed the bar to be lowered so far.

This is a film that desperately needs to be seen - I've heard rumblings that a few venues are interested but worried about whether it will find an audience. After showing the first Suite for Ma Dukes screening in London last summer I know for a fact the only problem would be not enough seats.