Fans of the pioneering rap group will find plenty to like about this documentary, as will hip-hop heads in general and anyone curious about music history circa the late '80s and early '90s. Director Michael Rapaport (the actor, who's appeared in movies like The 6th Day) followed the group during the 2008 Rock the Bells tour, capturing the increasing conflict between founding members Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. The first part of the movie offers incredible insight into New York's '80s hip-hop scene, complete with interviews and a terrific soundtrack. But then Beats Rhymes & Life begins to focus on the backstage drama and Phife’s diabetes, and quickly loses its way. The auxiliary content feels tacked on, making the film seem much longer than it is. Only the group's most dedicated fans will bother to fight the boredom at this point.
Director: Michael Rapaport
Producer: Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler, Eric Matthies, Frank Mele and Robert Teitel
Cast: Mary J. Blige, Common, Phife Dawg, De La Soul, Mos Def, Ghostface Killah, Ludacris, Angie Martinez, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip