PARK CITY, Utah — The path to the screen for actor/director Michael Rapaport’s A Tribe Called Quest documentary has not been smooth.
“The last time I was with Q-Tip, he was fawning over the movie, [saying] ‘I love the movie. I think it could do this, I think it could do that.’ His feeling about the movie was even higher than my feelings about the movie. It’s disappointing that the rest of the group isn’t here,” he said of the Saturday premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, which was only attended by Tribe member Phife Dawg, with no sign of Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad or Jarobi White.
As recently as last month, Q-Tip had been tweeting his disapproval of the movie, saying he was “not in support” of it. He later clarified his statements, explaining that his beef was over some edits to the project, but that he supported the sentiment of it.
“They were offered everything they needed … to get here. They chose not to be here. I felt like Phife last night at the world premiere handled himself as a gentleman and was so honest and sweet and vulnerable, the same way he is in the movie,” Rapaport told MTV News.
The movie chronicles the foursome’s reunion for the 2008 Rock the Bells Tour. Last week, they released a statement in support of the film:
“Thanks to our fans for their support through the years and for the enthusiasm around the documentary. We hope that the film’s perspective conveys our love of hip-hop culture. We could not attend Sundance, but we want to express our love and appreciation for the support that we have received in advance of the film’s premiere tonight. We hope that it is well received.”
Rapaport said he’s not sure just what the issue is. Once the film was finished, he said the group’s members asked for a producer credit and Rapaport said they were granted that request. With hundreds of other films and documentaries being shown at Sundance over the next few days, Rapaport pointedly said he wondered how many of them will be screened without their producers on hand to support them.
As for the Twitter beef with Q-Tip, Rapaport said he’s not sure what to make of it, but he doesn’t really think Tip was saying that the filmmaker was taking advantage of the group. “He didn’t say that … the reality of the situation is they’re grown men and I’ve been with them for two and a half years and I’ve never been in a room with all four of them.”
Over all the time he worked on the documentary, Rapaport said that despite working under the guise of a group, they really function as individuals and he never saw them all in one place at one time and could only remember a single instance when three of them were on the phone with him at once. “The reality of the situation is individually they all have different perspectives. Phife chose to come here and the other guys are not here. And they missed out,” the director said.
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