Last week, A Tribe Called Quest members Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi spoke to MTV’s Sway about their concerns with the ATCQ doc, Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. The Michael Rapaport directed film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. As evidenced by a few quotes from Q-Tip and others, the film did not seem to have the group’s support. In this full interview, the group gives their point of view and discuss their issues with the film. The interview is broken down into multiple parts where the get into why they lost trust in Rapaport, how Nas initiated the documentary, and why they didn’t show up for the Sundance premiere.


  • DJ Equity

    I really felt that Michael Rapaport was not the right director for a Hip Hop documentary. Especially trying to document the history of a group so important to the culture as The Tribe.
    My suggestion would be shred the whole film and start fresh with Spike Lee as director. I would also hope the group could find strength from this situation and possible use it to reunite the group.

    • yaya00

      completely agree…

  • jlee

    ^ agreed. i’m sorry they had to go through all of that.

  • Jay

    The whole sitution sounded H.A.M. from jump. It sounds like the “Tribe” was hesitant from the beginning. I’ve liked a couple of movies Rapaport was in, but as a filmmaker, I don’t know. Preproduction is so important in the fimmaking process. It sounds like there was no real plan. I’m dissapointed because “A Tribe Called Quest” was one of my favorite groups growing up. I’m still going to check out the film but I’m sure it could be a lot better in different hands. Tip said it best “Tell your own stories.”

  • There was a hiphop group in the 90’s that had a song warning emcees about all these issues in a song called “Show Business” off an album called “The Low End Theory”…can’t remember the group’s name though.

    In the interest of full disclosure I’m a big Tribe fan and much more so of Tip than Phife. It’s a shame such a great opportunity fell apart like it seemed to, guess Rappaport was just barely acting in “Bamboozled”. I do think Tip, Jarobi & Ali needed to go one way or the other though; can’t criticize a film and then tell people to see it anyway. To pull a similar hypocrisy, I just want to say I’m proud of these cats for telling the world how they felt without being afraid. They lied and rather than have the “Sundance Experience” like Phife they stood up to the brass and then told the world what happened.

    Anyhow, big ups to the Tribe, Q-Tip, please come to Austin. Peace & blessings.

  • dammit now I STILL don’t know what Jarobi looks like!

    • He lives in ATL lol check out the Bonita Applebaum video and Left My Wallet in El Segundo. He’s in those videos 🙂

    • proshop

      Jarobi is Jim Jones.

  • Frankenstine

    sounds like they got an ending for their movie now. Nas shoulda been filming all of this other shit going on.

  • BruceblaQ

    makes me even more proud of HIPHOP after watching that. I’m glad they criticized how it was handled as well as urging people to see it. that’s some grown man ish. when someone (all of us) tells the story of Tip, Ali and Jarobi(http://tinyurl.com/4zwfdj7) and eventually Phife’s response, it will be one where you see and hear the evolution of men. being able to understand the gray areas of life/art and business…that’s HIPHOP, that’s FRESH!!!
    HIPHOP was and is a creative response to terrible conditions. this was Tribe’s creative response to Rappaport’s BS.
    THANKS for the illustration Gentlemen

  • Asap

    Whatever man, just like LASERS (Lupe’s album). The more there is disagreement or controversy inadvertantly or advertantly, the greater the possible impact (saleswise) of the project once it reaches retail.
    People’s business is too much out there…

    Once successful, they’ll all go cheesing to the bank (producers & directors). If not successful they’ve created an out. Lupe Fiasco is not complaining now that his album sold alot first week even though the record label made him make some changes. We’ll see what happens with this TCQ project…
    As the world turns some get smart, others grow dumb, and purist grow cynical.

  • wc

    listening to tip speak in the last clip gave me chills… he definitely has a gift.

  • I agree on the spike lee direction…that would be fire….

  • Monk

    Industry Rule #4080

  • Pooz30

    …Rapaport is shaaaady

  • Autoethnography.

  • Jericho Drumm

    Phife…sun…what’s up?

  • Black Irish

    It would be interesting to hear Phife’s thoughts on this, should he ever say anything.

    I’m a little skeptical of that question about a “storyboard” for the documentary. Although I’m at best an amateur, I have done some doc work in the past and honestly, the footage you capture should really dictate the story that gets told. Now, if this film is more about the history of Tribe, then yeah there should be a plan for what you cover, what you don’t, what subjects get more time, etc. Then again, if the main focus of the narrative is on Tribe reuniting for Rock the Bells and how they are living as a group these days, I could see how the Phife/Tip conflict could go come to the forefront (note: I haven’t seen the film so I don’t know if this is the case), especially if this is the way Rappaport and his crew saw things as “outsiders”.

    Of course, if half the stuff the guys said was true about the director, then chances are there was some underhanded ish going on here. Watching this interview though, I feel like there is some stuff still being left unsaid. Asap may be on point with his comparison to the LASERS drama. Time will tell.

  • woooooooooow….

  • Rev. DeeBeeKay

    yo this was a great interview to show the other side of the game. I mean many people have talk about it in songs (Big Poppa Midnight the song is by ATCQ hahaha) Krs one talks about it alot (down the chart” for one) but this is putting it out in the open as it is happening which is rare. Usually it is just to rapper kats just beefing over nothing. i havent seen the doc yet but goin on with what the group said and just take it with a grain of salt, the movie is not the end all be all of the group is my translation.
    Speaking of Translations what does “Greeo” mean i have looked it up but couldnt find anything.

  • Tamtwice

    Griot is a West African term for a poet who provides an oral history. Usually the common definition is “storyteller”.

  • liveguy


    I understand why they upset…but seems to me like Tip and Phife need to resolve they issues.

    And Tip can come across like victim here all he wants, but lets be real here…..Tip had a few cats sayin he himself was shady at times.

    *ahem* J Dilla

    Anyway….MR know his hip hop…ATCQ broke up….its no secret Tip and Phife (mainly on phife side) have had issues.

    Phife airs it out….Tip wanna stay in the meek and nice lane for the public.

    “Who me?” (c) Tip

    *c’mon son face*

    MR just airing out the real….Tip prolly a cool ass dude…but he has his moments like we all do.

    This *moment* was just caught on tape and blown up (maybe more than it should have been)….

    Just own it…..it was you…or you all….

    You did it….

    MR clearly sided with Phife on this….hence, Phife the one that was at Sundance

    Anyway…..its just a Doc….we all get it.

    Hopefully them two (tip n phife) squash it.

    Life is too short.

    • greg

      Definitely agree! And for those questioning MR’s qualifications to make a “hip-hop” documentary about Tribe, is it because he’s white? Look at the majority of their fans. Unfortunately, I don’t see anybody else interested. He obviously loves the group.

    • Pirate7X

      No because of everything they just said in the videos. Remember it was Nas who sparked the idea for documentary first.

  • Pirate7X

    Spike Lee is one best directors of film and I’m a fan. Still someone who’s actually just as innovative and closer to Hip Hop like Hype Williams, Paul Hunter or Charles Stone III (I believe all have done film work with Tribe & Native Tongoue groups since the 80’s) would be better in my opinion.

  • Bamboozled by ZebraHead.

  • sstretch

    Tribe will always be one of the best hip hop groups ever to do this. Its sad though that PHIFE and Q-TIP still beefing. Definitely trying to see this documentary.

    check out the beats at http://www.soundcloud.com/sstretch68323

  • i love tribe to death but they are not film makers, good documentaries need a solid problem to work into their plot or it is not interesting, the shit that the management did though seemed fucked up.

  • Pingback: Food Wine Lifestyle ™ » Blog Archive » Coming to a theater near you: LA Film Festival winner ‘Beats, Rhymes & Life’()

  • Pingback: For Your Eyes: Tip, Ali, and Jarobi Respond…. | Rhyme and Reason()

  • Pingback: For Your Eyes: Tip, Ali, and Jarobi Respond…. | Rhyme and Reason Radio()