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

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: Michael Rapaport sets out on tour with A Tribe Called Quest in 2008, when they reunited to perform sold-out concerts across the country, almost ten years after the release of their last album, The Love Movement. As he travels with the band members, Rapaport captures the story of how tenuous their relationship has become; how their personal differences and unresolved conflicts continue to be a threat to their creative cohesion. When mounting tensions erupt backstage during a show in San Francisco, we get a behind-the-scenes look at their journey and contributions as a band and what currently is at stake for these long-time friends collaborators. (Sony Picture Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jul 13, 2011
    Poignant and powerful, complex and melancholy, the film ends with rehearsals for yet another money-grubbing comeback tour.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 14, 2011
    The best material, however, keeps returning to the unstable power dynamic between Q-Tip and Dawg.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 2, 2011
    Beats is a welcome blast of '90s nostalgia, taking us back to a time - and a sound - that pulsates with optimism.
  4. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jul 21, 2011
    On the one hand, welcome to the music business. On the other, if A Tribe Called Quest can't stay together who can? It's a worry that eventually gets at the eccentricity of both the music and the movie.
  5. 75
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Jul 14, 2011
    Rapaport keeps things lively with a hip-hop-tinged aesthetic, shuffling rhythmically between old and new footage. However engaging, though, the visuals have little to say about Tribe's legacy when compared with the original score, contributed by the great producer Madlib.
  7. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jul 2, 2011
    Though it may not have much of an audience beyond the band's fan base, it offers enough context to serve as a primer on the hugely influential Native Tongues clique and should have life on home-vid.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 6, 2012
    Unless you don't like A Tribe Called Quest or you're uninterested in Hip Hop and Rap history, you have no reason not to see this. This movie illustrates the timeline of A Tribe Called Quest from highs to lows. It's a fresh documentary that will certainly put a smile on your face. The only problem with this documentary is the lack of explanation. For example, lack of music construction. While, yes, there is Q-Tip explaining how this or that song started with this or that loop, but outside of that, there isn't really much. Which is a shame because A Tribe Called Quest had some of the best loops and whatnot. Nonetheless, this is a documentary for all. Highly recommended if you were into 90's Hip Hop and Rap. 9/10 Expand
  2. j30
    Nov 8, 2011
    Fantastic documentary that makes you realize how much you miss early 90's Hip Hop acts like De La Soul and how bad Hip Hop has been since TCQ left the game. Expand
  3. Jan 21, 2012
    A good watch for someone who doesnâ