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Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest(2011)
A portrait of one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the Queens NY collective known as A Tribe Called Quest.
For more about Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest and the Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray release, see Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 22, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White, Michael Rapaport
Director: Michael Rapaport
» See full cast & crew
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray Review
Hip Hop fans, this one's for you.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 22, 2011
Good things do come to an end.
Music might rightly be defined as "the heartbeat of life." It's as diverse as man himself. It comes and goes, sometimes as fleetingly as a breeze but sometimes remains as strong as a rock. But for every song, every album, every artist, no matter how widespread, how famous, how unknown, there's someone deeply affected by the words, the beats, the melodies, allowing them to be caught up in a moment, to hear something that speaks to them, soothes their senses, emotionally heals them, or influences them to go in a new direction, to rekindle an old passion, to recall an old memory. Music is always changing, reflective of the times, the lives of those who perform, the world in which they live. As the world metaphorically shrinks, the scope, reach, and influence of music only grows. It reaches more people, is tuned in on more radios, is downloaded on more devices, is imitated far and wide. Music's malleability only increases its audience and its audience's appreciation for the artistry and talent behind it, never mind, even, the purpose behind the lyrics or its impact on those who create it. Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest isn't exactly about the music, but instead the people who make it. It's not about the fans as much as it is the artists. It's the story behind the music, a look at the other side. It doesn't dwell as much on the group's standing with fans as much as it does the group's impact and legacy on one another. It's not a uniquely insightful film, but it is a worthy glimpse into the people who make the music and the world that's shaped them and has resultantly been re-shaped by their contributions to it. There's maybe no better example of how the world gives and takes than may be found in music, and Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest provides a microcosm of the impact of that give and take on the group and the world as it was and is, its travels from one time to the next and how it's changed along the way.
The life and times of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White -- the four members of the influential and highly popular group "A Tribe Called Quest" -- are the subject of Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, the film's title borrowing its name from the group's fourth album. The film looks at the histories of each member and their assemblage into the group, their New York roots (growing up nearby where legendary artists like Run D.M.C. and LL Cool J called home), their rise to stardom, influence and influences, and the impact of DJ Red Alert on the group's career. It also examines Tribe member's individual talents, likes, dislikes, and the personalities each brought to the group, not to mention Tribe's time in the Native Tongues, a conglomeration of like-minded Hip Hop artists. It's all framed around Tribe's 2008 Rock the Bells Tour, into which the film offers raw on-stage and backstage looks at the group's return to touring and reuniting with one another a decade removed from releasing their last album, The Love Movement.
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is, in many ways, the story of great American success, the tale of four people finding their way in life, using their gifts to not only attain fame and fortune, but to more fully discover who they are and from where they've come, even if that comes at the expense of their cohesion. Their story is like so many others, one of meager origins but a rise to the top of their profession where the only thing that could cause the group to crumble was the group itself. Unfortunately, that's what happened. Director Michael Rapaport's picture retrospectively covers the group's formation and rise to success while simultaneously chronicling its 2008 reunion tour and ultimate fall from grace, not because of dwindling sales or poor fan support, but because of internal conflicts that destroyed the group's figurative harmony. It's at once both intriguing and heartbreaking to watch as musical pioneers -- whose works have influenced both some of the biggest names of their time and current artists alike -- find artistic success but lose their footing along the way, all the while they and their contemporaries alike discuss the impact of the group's music and its untimely demise.
From a technical perspective, Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is a well-assembled film. It not only easily captures its subjects and their stories, but does so in a way that will satisfy longtime fans -- for many of whom there's no real surprises to come in the movie -- and for casual fans and newcomers, too, who perhaps aren't familiar with the group, its music, and the ebbs and flows of its career. Director Michael Rapaport's picture plays with a very personal nature; up-close and hand-held photography capture not only the essence of the group, but of the people who made it, of the world from which they've come, of the world they've left behind. Viewers will come out of the film feeling as if they've come to know the group members and better understand what drove them to success and what pulled them apart. It's a fast-moving, strongly-edited, and sometimes riveting account that builds on a foundation of exploring the people of, and who where influenced by, A Tribe Called Quest, rather than merely capture a performance or examine only the musical, rather than personal, legacy they then created and have since left behind for posterity.
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray, Video Quality
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest debuts on Blu-ray with another solid 1080p Sony Blu-ray transfer. The movie's primary digital photography translates well to Blu-ray; though noise spikes at times and the image sports a generally glossy overlay, it also yields good stable details and colors. Clarity is strong, which gives way to positive facial and clothing textures, not to mention fairly intricate detailing on urban surfaces such as brick walls and murals. Colors fare very well, whether neutral "urban jungle" shades of gray or brightly-colored clothes. Black levels are generally sound, presenting minimal-to-no crush. Flesh tones appear accurate, too. Blocking and banding are largely absent. The picture contains a good amount of archival footage, much of it coming in the form of years-old music video clips. These, of course, have their visual and technical limitations and don't stand up to today's standards; that said, they do not factor into the overall score. For the most part, this is a solid high definition transfer. It's certainly not eye candy sort of material, but fans will appreciate the clarity and stability the Blu-ray disc yields.
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest features a positive and energetic DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The only real "flaw" comes in the form of dialogue clarity over the stage microphones during tour stops. Otherwise, this one is excellent all around. The various cuts of the group's songs sound fantastic. Clarity is magnificent from the top down, even in the deliberately scratchy "Can I Kick It." Spacing is seamless, surrounds are supportive, and the bass is wonderfully heavy and tight. Ambience is first-rate, too, notably in the various exterior city shots where the general din of city life really springs to life. Dialogue is clear and focused, save for the aforementioned trouble spots. This one's pretty basic; it's mostly dialogue and music, with the latter really jumping to life and defining the track. Fans of A Tribe Called Quest will love this one.
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest pumps out a few nice extras, chief amongst them an audio commentary track, several featurettes, and plenty of deleted and extended scenes.
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is a well-put together Documentary chronicling both A Tribe Called Quest's 2008 reunion tour as well the groups origins, with emphasis on the individuals. It's a raw, honest, sometimes exhilarating, and always fascinating look into one of the 1990's most influential and popular Hip Hop groups. Obviously, fans of A Tribe Called Quest will get the most out of the movie. It's not really recommended for anyone going in completely blind, but Michael Rapaport's film is certainly of a quality that even newcomers will find it to be at least an informative and well-made picture. Sony's Blu-ray release of Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest features good technical presentations, supported by plenty of extras. Recommended to fans of the group and their musical genre.
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Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest Blu-ray - September 2, 2011
This October, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest to Blu-ray. Actor Michael Rapaport's acclaimed documentary about A Tribe Called Quest charts the influential hip-hop group's rise to fame through ...
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