Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beats, Rhymes & Life - Movie Review

Beats, Rhymes & Life (R) 95 minutes B+
Beats, Fights and Forgiving

Starring Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White

In 1988 the Jungle Brothers dropped Straight Outta the Jungle.  The album was straight dope and an instant favorite.  Q-Tip was featured on two of the album's best tracks, "Black is Black" and "The Promo".  Yet, it was still all about the JBs- Mike Gee, Afrika Baby Bam and Sammy B.

In 1989 De La Soul released 3 Feet High & Rising, an album that literally blew my mind and changed the way I viewed rap forever.  So when ATCQ released People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm in 1990, I liked it but didn't love it as much as the aforementioned albums.  

I didn't buy 1991's Low End Theory despite all of the great things I was hearing, and 1993 I was lukewarm about Midnight Marauders (which eventually grew on me and became a personal fav).  Consequently, I skipped Beats, Rhythm and Life in 1996, and by 1998's The Love Movement there was no love left among the three remaining members.  The constant bickering had taken its toll and the band broke up.  

This documentary details the rise and fall of ATCQ.  It sort of vilifies Q-tip as a passive-aggressive control freak/creative force behind the music, and apparently Q-tip was none too pleased.  As far as I know he has never done any promotion for the film.  Nevertheless, this was an enlightening and highly entertaining look at one of the most important hip hop groups of a generation. 

Highly recommended for anyone who likes hip hop.   

1 comment:

B Mick said...

I still think there was a lot of truth to fued between Q-tip and Phife. However, Ali was caught in the middle. And he just wanted to make some damn music. I think it was good flick. My head was moving the entire movie. Actually I was reliving my youth during that movie. I own all the ATCQ albums and they are the joint. I will definitely recommend this movie.