A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg had an emotional breakdown over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival during a screening of upcoming documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life.
Representing the only Tribe member in attendance, Phife wished his estranged crew could understand the film’s potential.
“I wish the rest of them were here,” Phife Dawg said, according to the Los Angeles Era during an emotional speech following the screening. “They don’t know. I’ve been listening to you guys’ response throughout the movie. Q-Tip has no thought how many people like him. When he was up there cracking jokes, yo, I nearly p*ssed my pants!” “You guys were dying of laughter,” Phife continued. “He don’t see that…He’s like, ‘Yo, man, I don’t know, man. I don’t know.’ I just wish they were all here to witness how much like you showed this movie.” (Hottest Hip Hop)
According to director Michael Rapaport, he initially had the support of Tribe member Q-Tip.
As Rapaport explained to us the next day while watching the Packers game with Phife, he’d shown the movie to Q-Tip multiple times. “From what he told me, he loves the movie. He thinks it’s going to be hugely successful, critically acclaimed. You can quote that … And one day he just decided he didn’t like it. I don’t know. I’m not sure what happened.” And since then, the two of them have only communicated through the media and Twitter. Even so, Rapaport bought Q-Tip and Jarobi White, who also didn’t show, two first-class tickets each to come to Park City and booked them hotel rooms. (The fourth member, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, had a prior engagement in Europe, but both Rapaport and Phife think he would have come.) And he was still hopeful they might come, until they didn’t. As Rapaport explained, “A Tribe Called Quest has been broken up. I deal with them individually. I’ve never been in a room with all four of them. I think they’re all grown men They’re all adults. They all make decisions on their own. So why Phife came here, he wanted to be here. And why the other guys didn’t come here, they didn’t want to be here.” (New York Mag)
Earlier this month, Rapaport broke silence on Q-Tip airing out his initial frustrations publicly.
“I think the reason he did his little Twitter thing was because he realized that the movie was coming to completion and going to get seen by people,” Rapaport explained in an interview. “I can’t really speak for him but I think he got a little nervous. He’s very protective of the legacy of A Tribe Called Quest and the movie is a very honest depiction of my time with them and the information that I was given in interviews and content…He was speaking on behalf of himself and his biggest request was to be protective of the legacy of Tribe. So when the film was coming to completion, he got a little bit nervous because he wants to be seen in a certain way.” (RapFix)
This eventually ignited a response from Tip last Friday (January 21).
“speaking of 1nce again… here i some tribe chat the director of the film cannot speak to what is in my head abt the documentary . nor can this director EVER say the i dont speak for the group. when i say i do then belive me i do … tribe is no different than any other collective. we experience bumps bruises and disagreements then and we still do. but knowing our history and our messages in our music we will NEVER be taken advantage of like we were in the past. we dont care who it is. but we are truly thankful for your interest in our music and your interest in this flattering look at our career.” (Q-Tip’s Twitter)
Check out footage of Phife Dawg speaking on the film below: