The controversy surrounding Beats, Rhymes & Life, the recent Tribe Called Quest documentary, has a new chapter. Recently Q-Tip went on MTV’s Rap Fix to speak with Sway Calloway about the film and made comments that appeared to be racially driven. The film’s director, Michael Rapaport responded to those comments and revealed that he has received comments from Q-Tip in the past that indicate a racial issue may be at the core of this feud.
Q-Tip began said interview with positive words about the documentary and about Rapaport before warning other emcees to “tell your own stories.”
“He really did a great job and I commend him, still. He really did an amazing job so I don’t want to deter anyone from seeing it,” Tip noted, before expressing his concern about having Rapaport direct a documentary about his group. “Again, this is just another warning shot, a flare coming from a cannon so that they could get this thing right…The other thing is, to everybody out there in Hip Hop who’s crossed the threshold, who’s done work, who has a history, whether it be Queen Latifah, Rakim, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, Nas, Ice Cube or N.W.A., yo, tell y’all own stories. Be in charge of your own stories, you hear me? Tell your own stories. We’re griots, look that up. We’re griots, man. We’ve gotta pass our own stories on. This is a part of our tradition, as African Americans predominantly. Let’s tell our own stories. We can let everybody come in and participate with us in this but don’t fall for the Hollywood, ‘Nobody’s ever done this before.’ We Hip Hop, man. It’s a Hip Hop nation. We crack the mold, we break the rules. We define this culture that we in right now, this Western culture, the shit that’s moving around the world, whether it be Tribe to Lil Wayne, Drake to I don’t care…This Hip Hop shit is our shit.”
Rapaport then went to Rap Fix with his response, saying he was confused by the interview.
“I don’t understand what he was talking about with telling their own stories,” Rapaport replied. “I don’t know if it was like, Hip Hop artists should direct movies about Hip Hop artists. Or maybe he was saying, ‘I should direct a documentary about myself,’ which has never been done before.”
“Martin Scorcese does movies about gangsters, and if you’ve ever been around Martin Scorcese, he’s the furtherst thing from a gangster…I don’t know if he meant, ‘We’re from Hip Hop, it should be a Hip Hop director’ or — I don’t know who would go under the auspices of being a Hip Hop director. Or if it was a racial thing like, ‘We’re black and shouldn’t have a white director.’ It was confusing to me.”
In the end, Rapaport revealed that the last form of communication he had with Q-Tip ended with an e-mail from Tip.
“Last time I heard from Q-Tip he sent me an email and he said, ‘All you gotta do is stay white and be privileged.'”
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