A Tribe Called Quest Doc Director Michael Rapaport Talks Q-Tip Rift

It’s our belief that every great rap group deserves a great documentary and thankfully, the legendary A Tribe Called Quest’s homage is debuting at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. But along with the good news came a very public rift between group member Q-Tip and the doc’s directors Michael Rapaport.

Late last year, the MC made his quibbles with the film’s depiction of the group known publicly, but the New York native Rapaport says it’s all just showbiz jitters.

“I think the reason he did his little Twitter thing was because when he realized that the movie was coming to completion and going to get seen by people,” Rapaport said. “I can’t really speak for him but I think he got a little nervous. He’s a 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.”

As for the “few requests” Tip said ATCQ made of Rapaport that weren’t acknowledged, the “Higher Learning” actor says Q-Tip wasn’t speaking for the group.

“He was speaking on behalf of himself and his biggest request was to be protective of the legacy of Tribe,” Rapaport said. “So when the film was coming to completion, he got a little bit nervous because he wants to be seen in a certain way.”

And while he’s a loyal ATCQ fan, the director said he wanted to be do the group’s story justice.

“I adore ATCQ and my intention wasn’t to ever make them feel uncomfortable but my intention was never to make a fluff piece so we kind of hit a bump in the road,” he said. “And we promoted [the film together]. Q-Tip and me were on the radio talking about ‘This is going to be the real story of A Tribe Called Quest.’ When I say ‘the real story’ that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be crazy sh–. I didn’t unveil any secrets. From what I’ve learned Q-Tip and Phife have known each other their whole lives and they are like a family. And like any family, like any group — the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, EPMD, Public Enemy — they’ve had bumps in the road. I just think that because A Tribe Called Quest is so precious to fans, they were concerned about unveiling some of those things.”

As for whether the group will be there at Sundance to introduce the film en masse, Rapaport is hopeful.

“He’ll supporting the movie. As he said in his Sirius radio interview, he’s a producer on the film,” he said. “I would assume a producer on the film to be supporting the movie. The thing about a documentary is — and this is what I told the guys — the way you guys look at it is never going to be the way the world looks at it. You’re looking at it in way more detail than anyone else. No one is going to scrutinize it the way you guys will. It’s like when you look in the mirror and you’re like ‘I have this pimple on my face, I can’t go out.’’ And your boyfriend, girlfriend or your mom is going to say ‘Oh, it’s not a big deal, I can barely notice it.’

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