One of the most pioneering and beloved groups of all-time, A Tribe Called Quest seminally defined the sound of an early-'90s New York hip-hop scene that reverberated across the nation. Formed in 1985 by Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White, Tribe melded jazz-infused musicscapes and Afrocentric rhymes with bass-heavy rhythmic vibes, eclectic sampling, and intelligent lyrics addressing social and political issues with infectious energy.
Acclaimed actor Michael Rapaport (Zebrahead, Mighty Aphrodite) paints a remarkably personal portrait of the characters behind the group's sonic genius through their five albums, their highly publicized breakup in 1998, and beyond. Emotionally honest and forthright interviews with group members are intercut with electrifying footage of live performances, music videos from back in the day, and commentary from Common, Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, De La Soul, Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, Ludacris, and the Beastie Boys. Whether or not A Tribe Called Quest will create another record remains a question—but the group's profound contribution to musical history and unparalleled artistic success undisputedly blazed a trail for future generations.
Director's Statement Collapse
Being a part of the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 with my directorial debut is an honor. Having my film screened in the city I grew up in and love is truly a dream come true. I want to thank A Tribe Called Quest for giving me opportunity to tell their personal story.
In 2008, when I was provided with the opportunity to direct a film about my favorite rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, my goal was to create a classic rock-and-roll style documentary.
As far as I was concerned, there hasn't been a proper documentary about any hip-hop group, so I was determined to create a film that didn't feel contrived or supplementary. I wanted to achieve the same raw and rare truth ATCQ captured in their music.
During the process of making this film, I experienced some of the most creative highs and lows of my life, coupled with personal anxiety and excitement. One of the biggest challenges in making this film was portraying all four members of ATCQ in a clear and concise manner. Communicating their 30-year relationship in 90 minutes wasn't easy. But with the help of my incredible team, I was able to push this film to completion.
I'd like to thank my two sons, Julian and Maceo, for being so patient and supportive during the process of making this film.
Cast & Credits Collapse
Primary Cast Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White
Director Michael Rapaport
Producer Edward Parks, Michael Rapaport, Frank Mele, Eric Matthies, Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler, ATCQ
Editor Lenny Mesina, AJ Schnack
Director of Photography Robert Benavides
Add'l Credit 1 Music Supervisor - Peanut Butter Wolf
About the Director(s)Collapse
MICHAEL RAPAPORT got his break at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival in the award-winning film Zebrahead. Since then, he has appeared in more than 40 notable films, including True Romance, Higher Learning, Beautiful Girls, Copland, and Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite and Small Time Crooks. In 2006, he earned critical acclaim for the film Special.