Feature Image

World Cinema Showcase Festival Diaries #4

This documentary filled a gap in my knowledge. Having gone in knowing very little about A Tribe Called Quest, the innovative American Hip Hop group who rose to fame in the 1990s with hits "Can I Kick It?" and "Bonita Applebum", I left understanding the lasting impact they had over a true American art form. As it's pointed in the documentary, hip hop (along with jazz) is a true American art form. You lose sight of this fact when music today is dominated by terrible hip hop music, but spend 90 minutes with this documentary and you realize that A Tribe Called Quest were the most intelligent, artistic hip hop group of the 1990s.

I would recommend Beats, Rhymes & Life to anybody, to die-hard fans of hip hop music and to the uninitiated. It is all made accessible under the careful hand of Michael Rapaport, who gets candid interviews with everybody. All the prominent members of the American Hip Hop scene and all the members of Tribe, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who each talk fondly and respectfully about a time when the group was burgeoning. It all unfolds at a chilled and easy-to-watch pace with the accompaniment of motion graphics.

What I admired most about the documentary is how it deals sensitively with fragile group dynamics. Michael Rapaport is clearly a fan, but he is careful not to make matters worse. He shows us that what threatens the group is not simply fragile egos, but personality clashes. For instance, what Q-Tip says to Phife in the throw of a performance does almost irreparable damage to the entire group. It's that funny thing with groups that its personalities come together to make great art but they almost always guarantee its destruction.

Most Read Today

image
01 Emily Browning and Jena Malone Interview

Emily Browning and Jena Malone talk about their ro...

image
02 Fireworks displays in Christchurch

Fireworks displays in Christchurch at New Brighton...

image
03 Taylor Kitsch Interview

The star of John Carter talks about getting to gri...

image
04 FIFA Under 20 World Cup - Christchurch, Dunedin 2015

The world's best young footballers are headed for ...

image
05 Celebrity Interviews

From hollywood legends to new kids on the block, r...

Content updated: 23/10/2017 01:03

Related Features

Feature Image
ViewNZ's picks of the 44th annual film festival opening in Christchurch from August 9th to the 26th
Feature Image
The cast and director of The Help talk about their time together on the film adaptation of the successful novel
Feature Image
The star and director behind Mexican gangland crime thriller Miss Bala talk about working together
Feature Image
The man behind Supersize Me brings you the lowdown on subliminal advertising in films

Engage

Hitwise Award Winner