Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Reviews

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September 15, 2011
This authorized documentary is more of a celebration of the legendary Queens quartet than a serious exploration of their art. But considering how brilliant they were at their peak, it's hard to disagree with the general sentiment.
August 9, 2011
Rapaport gets at the dynamics of a group that struggles even now to get along well enough to get paid - again.
August 5, 2011
Despite accusations of nearly succumbing to spotlighting beefs over beats, the film comes off as an honest representation of a great group that's not to be forgotten.
August 5, 2011
A combination of timing, access, a visual aesthetic that reflects ATCQ's Afrocentric "surface philosophy" (as the crew's look is described) and, most importantly, story-conscious editing elevates the doc above the norm.
August 4, 2011
Thanks to a particularly even-handed job by director Michael Rapaport, the story emerges as compelling, even for non-fans in the audience.
July 29, 2011
The movie gets the beats and rhymes down pat, but the life part is a little messy. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.
July 28, 2011
There are scenes toward the end of the movie that hint at a fuzzier tomorrow for Tribe, but you leave appreciating the music as it was, not hoping for anything else.
July 21, 2011
The emotional honesty Rapaport captures on screen comes off as real, a cut above standard-issue Behind the Music drama in terms of believability.
July 21, 2011
Somewhat against the odds, Rapaport manages to parlay his access and sycophancy into the plaint of a concerned fan: Please, fellas, squash this.
July 15, 2011
Even as the band implodes, "Beats" flows as smoothly as Q-Tip on "Verses From the Abstract." It's the tension between the group's core members that really propels the film forward.
July 14, 2011
An outstanding effort, and one of the more honest band biopics in recent years.
July 11, 2011
Rapaport smartly focuses on the yin-and-yang duo of Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, the group's lead rappers, and a fascinating study in contrasts.
July 9, 2011
A reminder, part "Behind the Music" and part something better, that even artists professing love and togetherness have a hard time keeping it going.
Top Critic
July 8, 2011
Rapaport, a longtime Quest fan, clearly admires Tip. He's just too forthright a storyteller to bury the tale of the quartet's acrimonious unraveling.
July 8, 2011
Even those who never joined the cult of A Tribe Called Quest will find this clear-eyed chronicle of their career irresistible.
July 8, 2011
Rapaport, in his feature directorial debut, does an admirable job recounting the group's formation and dissecting its dissolution.
July 8, 2011
"Beats, Rhymes & Life" is a must for hip-hop heads. Others will either be won over or left wondering what all the fuss is about.
July 7, 2011
But unlike so many movies about the rise and fall of successful bands, this one manages to capture the thrill of discovery that A Tribe Called Quest enjoyed, at least in their early years.
July 7, 2011
The film serves both as a welcome document and reminder of the group in its prime, while also creating a portrait of lives still in motion, grown men trying to move on from yet respect the work of their younger selves.
July 7, 2011
it's Rapaport's mistake to spend so much time and energy unpacking something so much more obvious, and so much less interesting, than Tribe's music.
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