Paul Wall and Chamillionaire may not have been the first to say it, but they certainly weren’t wrong when they said that controversy sells. Now, mere hours after Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad opened up to Hot 97’s Angie Martinez, the man behind the now-notorious film Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, actor/director Michael Rapaport, responds to the hullabaloo surrounding his debut documentary.
Rapaport, who has starred in films like Cop Land and Bamboozled, spoke to MTV2's Sucker Free about the highly publicized beef that the Tribe frontman has with his film. He said that he thinks Tip feels slighted by the way he was portrayed in the film, but that ultimately, their disagreement boils down to a misunderstanding. Rapaport says that he never intended to depict Tip as a villain, and that no one who has seen the film has ever indicated to him that he inadvertently illustrated him as such.
“You have to ask him directly why [he attacked the film],” he explained. “I think that what he was concerned with was how he came off in the film. I think that ultimately, all the people within [the] Hip Hop [community], the people who have never heard of A Tribe Called Quest, regular fans from the Sundance Film Festival to all the places it’s screened across the country…not one person has written about or come up to me and said, ‘Q-Tip comes off like an asshole.’ I think the only person that thought he came off bad was Q-Tip. I can’t change that or help that. I know that if I was watching a documentary about myself, I’d be nitpicking every single detail. It’s like if you have a pimple on your face…you see it differently than the rest of the world, so I think his thoughts and opinions are different [from] the rest of [ours], certainly the audiences’ [opinions].”
Rapaport added that despite the feud, he still respects and venerates Tip as a Hip Hop legend. He said that the film should be looked at as a celebration of Tribe’s career and legacy as the forebears of the Native Tongues movement, not an exploitation on their internal troubles.
“To be honest, I respect him,” Rapaport explained. “He’s an icon. He’s Q-Tip…the stuff that played out in the public and the stuff that was on MTV and the little Twittering, I regret that it happened, but it’s time to move forward. The movie’s coming out in theaters, which is a humungous deal for Hip Hop itself. It’s a documentary about a group that hasn’t made an album since 1998 that’s not just coming out in one theater, but theaters across the country. It’s a big deal, and it’s a celebration of the group and what they’ve done and that time in Hip Hop and the people they’ve influenced.”
The full interview can be seen below.