Heart, Soul and Rhythm: I am a new fan of A Tribe Called Quest

I am music stupid in many ways.

I was an almost full-time athlete for my formative social years.  Because of spending my third grade to senior high school years in a gym, with 10-12 year olds and middle-aged coaches, I wasn’t exposed to the particular set and variety of music that most people my age listened to.

That’s just a brief disclaimer about why I don’t know a lot of songs that were/are considered well-known in my generation.

Fast forward to last night, where I got to attend a screening of Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

I loved it.

I’m a sucker for passion, dedication to craft.  The magic ingredient in Chef of South Polar.  And you also felt that in Beats, Rhymes and Life.  It was real.  Four talented young people coming together, forming bonds, honing talent, and going through the conflicts that do naturally happen since people really have different personalities.

The storytelling treatment didn’t assail anyone, which was amazingly careful of the creators, since they showed the tension that formed by the group’s third album – all without finger-pointing.  In fact, you even saw the steadiness in the group’s bond despite fighting and fall-outs.  Q-Tip, the creative diva of the bunch, knocked heads with Phife, but in the end, there was still concern and appreciation.

They were quirky, they loved music, they were grounded.  Their music is so honest.  That’s what I love about it – it’s honest but skilled.  Like all the best music.  It’s what keeps Benita Applebum and Hot Sex from seeming sleazy.  They’re about sex, but the sound is playful and the writing…the writing isn’t trying to be cool, or macho.

So, wow, A Tribe Called Quest.  I’m sad that I only discovered you now.  But, better late than never.


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