365 films in 2016: film 50 (Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest 2011)

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 19.46.38I love a good music documentary, but a lot of times it’s easy for them to miss their target completely, it’s tricky really, you have to somehow find a way to keep the hardcore fans interested who already know everything there is to know about the artist and show newer fans/ potential fans things that they might not know yet.

Unfortunately Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest doesn’t really do either of those things, A Tribe Called Quest are one of the most important groups in hip hop, without Quest we probably wouldn’t have Pharrell or Kanye or Kendrick so there’s a lot of legacy there, I remember the first time i listened to Midnight Marauders and was kind of confused in a way, the sound was so familiar yet new and fresh sounding, Quest have a timeless style that i have yet to see anyone replicate.

Beats, Rhymes & Life Struggles to really go anywhere after its first act, it’s cool to see the landscape of hip hop grow and change and the influence Quest had at the time but after that the documentary slowly becomes about Q-Tip and Phife’s beef, instead of about Quest, that’s where Beats, Rhymes & Life really gets disappointing, it’s not about the life of A Tribe Called Quest, it’s about the life of two of its members, Ali Shaheed is an interesting guy but you wouldn’t know because after 20 minutes in all he’s asked about is Q-Tip and Phife. But Beats, Rhymes & Life isn’t all bad, it is nice to learn more about the members’ personal lives and see their origin stories even if it doesn’t last long, and though the content of the documentary is somewhat disappointing it is fairly interesting, if not a little long winded.
I am very divided on Beats, Rhymes & Life, i would have loved to see a Time Is Illmatic style documentary about Quest and hey maybe that’ll happen one day but unfortunately Beats, Rhymes & Life just doesn’t do A Tribe Called Quest justice, and for that reason its’ a 6/10.
In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.



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