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Old 10-17-2011, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 97 minutes
Genre: Documentary/Music

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Directed by: Michael Rapaport
Music by: Madlib
Produced by: ATCQ, Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler, Eric Matthies, Frank Mele, Edward Parks, Michael Rapaport
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 18, 2011

"Microphone check one two what is this..."

Film Synopsis:

A documentary chronicling the influential hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest's rise to fame through its sudden break-up in 1998.

My Take:

"Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" does what A Tribe Called Quest did for hip-hip music. It transcends genre and boundaries, race and culture, and opens the viewers mind regardless of whether or not they are a fan of hip-hop. In the 90s I was a rock guy, so I missed out on Tribe, who I know influenced many modern artists and many friends of mine. I never was into hip-hop, and to me, it was all gangster rap. Talk about an open mind. Thanks to this insightful Documentary from actor Michael Rapaport (True Romance), in his directorial debut, I now have a new understanding and respect of the music and the art behind some of it's groups, especially the legendary and influential A Tribe Called Quest.

Spawning from a collective of groups and friends such as the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest became one of the most popular, successful and influential artists in its genre. They were considered "Alternative hip hop", and other artists in this genre included Brand Nubian, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, and Arrested Development. Tribe molded jazzy soul and laid-back samples, creating a smooth, sexy and intelligent groove which crossed-over, even landing the band on the 1994 Lollapalozza alternative rock concert tour.

A testament to this being a strong documentary is how much I enjoyed learning about a subject I was not too knowledgeable about. Its editing, direction and pacing were all tight as I never got bored, nor did I feel things were not explored deep enough. Micheal Rapaport's passion of the subject shows as he takes us from the groups beginnings in the late 80s to its success and stardom, then to its break-up in 1998. We see the band in the good times as well as the bad times. From being on-top of the world to inner struggles and health issues. I strongly recommend this to fans of music regardless of your age or genre preferences--to have a preconceived notion would just be selling yourself short.

Parental Guide:

Rated R for language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

Video: 88

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=121037369
"Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33.1 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.

Sony delivers another impressive new release with "Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest". It's all about the music and it sure sounds great here. Tribe's lush soundscapes pop with a 360 degree sound field. Its deep bass filled my room with a smooth and musical sound that was perfect. All interview dialogue from its various sources was always intelligible. There were times when the group was performing live that I couldn't keep track of what was being said in the rhymes, but that is to be expected. The video was no slouch either. Blending archival footage with newly filmed interview footage that was a mix of 16mm and Digital HD, it all worked well and look great. The newer footage of the 2008 and 2010 reunion tours, as well as the interviews had life-like colors, strong black levels and a surprisingly hight level of details. There is not much to disappoint here.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Director Michael Rapaport

  • (HD) On the Red Carpet at the Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere

  • (HD) Mike's Journey

  • (HD) Bringing Beats to Life

  • (HD) Radio in NYC

  • (HD) Will A Tribe Called Quest Make More Music?

  • (HD) Group Dynamics

  • (HD) A Message From Zulu Nation Featuring Mike G of Jungle Brothers

Final Thoughts:

"Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" is a well made and extremely insightful documentary from actor turned director Micheal Rapaport. I am a big fan of music docs, and this was one of the best I have seen. It digs deep and shows a great understanding and passion. Sony delivers high quality sound and video as well as a decent collection of extra features. I strongly recommend this to fans of music regardless of your age of genre preferences--to have a preconceived notion would just be selling yourself short.


Lee Weber
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:11 AM
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Great review Lee.


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Old 10-18-2011, 07:07 AM
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I second it Lee. Great review. My copy arrives tomorrow, can't wait.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:37 AM
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I'm not really a hip hop guy either but when this group was out they surely dominated streets with their Jazz Rap sound, I remember every where I went in NYC you can hear those smooth horns, I think the album was call Midnight Marauders..My girlfriend at the time and her friends couldn't shut up about how great this group was.. I can see they were so different from what I was opposed to, too bad I never gave them a chance...Hm I just might now.

Thanks Lee for another great review.


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Old 10-18-2011, 09:04 AM
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This Doc was awesome!! Definite buy for me. I only wished they had more of the extended songs in the bonus feature because those were the times i grew up on. Instant classic that definitely brings back a lot of memories.

JB is still the isht!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:34 AM
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Thanks! I haven't had a chance to watch this yet. Am now looking forward to it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:29 PM
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I can't fly into LAX without thinking "I left my wallet in El Segundo" .



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Old 10-18-2011, 01:29 PM
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I love A Tribe Called Quest and did not know this was coming out, can't wait to get it. Very good review.

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Old 10-19-2011, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Great review Lee.

Originally Posted by ahearst View Post

I second it Lee. Great review.

Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

Thanks Lee for another great review.

Originally Posted by Smigro View Post

Very good review.

Keep it comin' boys!

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Old 11-15-2011, 10:20 AM
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Overall, without question the most groundbreaking, truly artistic, listenable hip-hop/rap ever produced. This was a blind buy for me anyway, but good to hear it's solid.

I would URGE those not of the rap-ilk to at least rent this to have a better understanding that it's not ALL garbage.


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