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Tribe Doc Fuels Fued; We’re Team Rapaport

Posted on January 18th, 2011

Hey it is Kathleen from the New.Music.Live. team. Hardcore hip hop heads got some good news yesterday. The long-awaited documentary detailing A Tribe Called Quest’s rise to hip hop infamy will see the light of day at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The news that the doc will debut at Sundance has been somewhat overshadowed by the public feud between the film’s director, Michael Rapaport, and the group’s front man Q-Tip.

Q-Tip basically came out on Twitter and denounced the film, saying Rapaport wasn’t adhering to the group’s creative wishes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Tribe fan but I’ve got to go Team Rapaport on this one. The actor turned music documentarian told MTV that he’s not trying to do the group’s legacy a disservice. He just wants it to be real. “I adore ATCQ and my intention wasn’t to ever make them feel uncomfortable but my intention was never to make a fluff piece so we kind of hit a bump in the road,” he said.

Here’s the thing with documentaries: if the subject has too much creative control, the real story gets lost. In Tip’s defense, of course he wants to make himself look like a saint in the doc, but that’s definitely not the real story. If you know anything about Tribe, you know Q-Tip and Phife Dawg have had their ups and downs. While Q-Tip didn’t specify what about the film offended him, fans are speculating that it’s the depiction of his tumultuous friendship with Phife. In my eyes, this is going to be the best part of the doc. Sure the music is important, but the real drama behind the making of that music is way more interesting. It’s why fans want to watch the documentary in the first place.

Take the Biggie Smalls’ biopic, “Notourious” as an example. Biggie’s mom Voletta Wallace produced the film and was on set every day. Let’s just say, we noticed. The film pretty much goes like this: [SPOILER ALERT] Biggie loves his mom, Biggie gets famous, famous Biggie loves his mom, Biggie dies.

Yes, “Notorious” was a studio movie and not a documentary but the sentiment is the same. As much as I love him, I don’t want to see a love letter to Q-Tip. I want to see the real story. The doc, if done well, should hold up as a piece of hip hop history with the good and the bad included. Rapaport agrees: “This is going to be the real story of A Tribe Called Quest.’ When I say ‘the real story’ that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be crazy sh–. I didn’t unveil any secrets,” Rapaport told MTV. “From what I’ve learned Q-Tip and Phife have known each other their whole lives and they are like a family. And like any family, like any group — the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, EPMD, Public Enemy — they’ve had bumps in the road. I just think that because A Tribe Called Quest is so precious to fans, they were concerned about unveiling some of those things.”

Don’t worry boys; the fans will still be here after we get the real story. We might even love you a little more. We can kick it.

- Kathleen
New.Music.Live. Team