Michael Rapaport Talks "Beats, Rhymes And Life," And His Introduction To Hip Hop
Actor/director Michael Rapaport explains how his dad's love of Disco eventually led to him directing the A Tribe Called Quest documentary, "Beats, Rhymes And Life."
Aside from the shiny outfits Puff Daddy and Mase were so fond of back in 1998, it’s hard to draw much of a connection between Disco and most modern Hip Hop. But for Michael Rapaport, the flamboyant dance music of the 1970’s provided a bit of a bridge to the Hip Hop music he would eventually become a fan of. While he was the program director at New York radio station WKTU, Dave Rapaport initiated the transition from Mellow Rock to Disco, and the exposure to so much music had an impact on his son, Michael.
“One day my father brought home a yellow 12-inch record that said ‘Promotional Copy Only—Sugarhill Gang Rapper’s Delight’,” Rapaport explained during his appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” “He said, ‘This is this new thing called Rap Music…check it out.’ That was it for me. He regrets ever giving it to me, because he was always yelling, ‘Turn that crap off!”
Rapaport added that the bridge between his father’s love of Disco and Hip Hop created by the sample of Chic’s Disco hit “Good Times” created a lifelong love affair with Hip Hop. As an ardent Hip Hop fan, Rapaport says he naturally gravitated towards A Tribe Called Quest, and jumped at the chance to make his directorial debut with a documentary on the group.
“What they did musically with the samples and bringing in the Jazz brought such class and inclusiveness to Hip Hop,” Rapaport said. “They made people feel comfortable being who they were. There were a lot of stereotypes and a lot of thugged out stuff, and they came from hardcore Hip Hop and broke the mold. It was a big thing for a lot of people.”
After some initial disagreements, it appears Rapaport and the members of A Tribe Called Quest have settled their initial disagreements about the final edit of the film. Beats, Rhymes And Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is in theaters now.