The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 97 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
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..."
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.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
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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.
- 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
"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.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-X3 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Denon AVR 4311 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio On-Wall (5.1)
2 Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Solitaire 10"