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Sony Pictures Classics Kicks It With 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 10, 2011 at 3:50AM

Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar-Wai, Mike Leigh, Charlie Kaufman and....A Tribe Called Quest? Yep, it might seem like a strange fit but Sony Pictures Classics, usually home to decidedly arthouse fare, has picked up actor Michael Rapaport's directorial debut, "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest."
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Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar-Wai, Mike Leigh, Charlie Kaufman and....A Tribe Called Quest? Yep, it might seem like a strange fit but Sony Pictures Classics, usually home to decidedly arthouse fare, has picked up actor Michael Rapaport's directorial debut, "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest."

It's hard to describe the impact of the hip-hop group, but when they emerged on the scene in the early '90s they were outsiders of a rap scene that was turning gangsta, and along with acts like De La Soul, Digable Planets and others they were a strong and critically acclaimed and commercially successful alternative to the sounds at the time and they went on to be one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time. Debuting at Sundance a couple of months ago, Rapaport's film -- which we're totally bummed we missed -- seems to cover a lot of ground including the band’s early days, their reunion, internal conflict, Phife’s illness as well as the requisite talking head commentary. It actually looks like it could be pretty good.

But the film was not without its controversy. While Rapaport did have the involvement of every member of the group, as it came closer to the film's premiere Q-Tip disowned the film and rumors circulated that the group was not happy with movie. However, by most accounts, the Sundance premiere was a rapturous success followed by a very emotional Q&A with a teary, choked up Phife Dawg.

In an interview with The Daily Swarm, Rapaport addressed some of these issues, saying that it was a bit of mystery in regards to certain members reversing their previous support for the film. "I don’t think there’s been one sticking point. All four of them have seen the movie, and each one of them have different thoughts, opinions, and concerns," Rapaport said. "Collectively, I haven’t gotten one opinion from A Tribe Called Quest. I’ve gotten opinions from each one of them individually. I’ve actually never been in a room with all four of them together. Two of the four, and three of the four, but never all together."

Funded by credit cards and later assisted by some investors, the film is a dream project for Rapaport and regardless of any rumors, the film has the full support of the band. "It was my idea to make a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest. I approached Q-Tip about it: he was cool with it, but said I had to get approval from the other guys," Rapaport said about getting the movie off the ground. "So I went to all three other guys – Jarobi, Ali, and Phife – and talked to them each individually. They agreed as a group to do it, and next thing you know I was shooting a movie."

We're definitely curious about this one, and aside from being an excellent group, the band's story is fascinating one. No word yet on a release date.

This article is related to: Film Studios, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, Sony Pictures Classics


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