“Beats, Rhymes and Life,” the documentary exploring A Tribe Called Quest, has been one of the most talked about and controversial music docs released in years. Joining Ondi and Vlad on BYOD we have the film’s creators, Michael Rapaport and Edward Parks.
Ever the engaging motor-mouth, Michael shared his passion for the film with us in a no-holds-barred conversation that ranged wide and deep. From the film maker’s own early love of hip-hop, to getting access to the band, to the ensuing controversy that the doc kicked up, the talk was always insightful and frequently hilarious.
Oh, and we even saved a little room for Lin-sanity. Enjoy!
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is co-hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice, and Vladimir Radovanov, entertainment attorney, and executive producer of “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC.” Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi and Vladimir share their insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
A native New Yorker, Michael Rapaport got his break at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival in the award winning film Zebrahead. Since then, Rapaport has appeared in over 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 his performance in the film Special, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Rapaport has also had many standout appearances on hit television shows such as “Friends”, “Boston Public” and “My Name is Earl”. A lifetime hip hop fan Rapaport is proud to make his directorial debut with BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST.
Originally from Boston, Edward Parks is an award-winning feature and commercial producer and co-founder of
Rival Pictures, a Santa Monica-based production company. Rival has produced spots for clients such as State Farm, Toyota, and Nike, as well as the feature film Special, starring Michael Rapaport. The film was received to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, and was theatrically released by Magnolia Pictures in 2008. Ed is currently developing several feature projects both narrative and non-fiction when he’s not working on his Harleys.
00:01 BYOD opening
02:07 Welcoming Edward Parks and Michael Rapaport
02:37 “When did you decide you wanted to make the Tribe documentary and how long did you work on it?”
05:58 The transition from narrative features to documentaries.
08:32 The start of shooting; the end of the band.
10:40 Using graphics to set the mood–James Blagdon’s contribution
12:18 Beats, Rhymes and Life. Clip 1.
14:45 Discussing the film’s opening
16:19 Wearing some questionable stuff in the 90’s.
18:10 Beats, Rhymes and Life. Clip 2.
19:04 Where is the De La Soul film?
19:46 Crossover appeal from A Tribe Called Quest: What’s up with that?
21:28 From being a fan, to getting into murky waters.
24:34 Recreating history of the band after the fact.
26:06 Beats, Rhymes and Life. Clip 3 (Phife comes up).
27:49 Documentary maker’s post traumatic stress.
29:58 Clearing the music and the necessity of getting “Can I Kick it?”
36:30 “True Romance,” Clip.
37:28 How did you get comfortable asking the tough questions?
40:11 How has the band reacted to the film and controversy?
46:25 How fame affects artists, and how Michael related to Tribe.
49:05 Beats, Rhymes and Life. Clip 4.
50:45 Q-Tip: The Warren Beaty of hip-hop
51:17 Graphic techniques employed in the film and creating a magical aura around the early days of hip-hop.
52:45 Beats, Rhymes and Life. Clip 5.
54:20 Michael’s tribute to the early days of hip-hop (and a shout out to Amoeba records).
57:30 The financing and sales process of the film.
59:07 Showing at Sundance and some advice on dealing with sales agents.
1:01:45 The real motivation for making a documentary.
1:04:02 Was there any re-editing after Sundance?
1:04:30 Securing distribution.
1:07:05 Daily Dig-Down. Doc News.
1:11:30 Addressing Lin-sanity (paging Spike Lee…)
1:12:11 Thanks and sign off.