Michael Rapaport has come out of the woodwork to share his side in the whole ATCQ movie saga, even addressing that infamous email which Q-Tip shared on MTV news. He voiced his side of the story in an interview with Complex:
There was a controversial e-mail that Q-Tip read during the MTV interview from one of the producers of the movie saying, ‘”First off let’s close the Billing Block and put it on the poster so they can’t get on that. Then we’ll fuck them on everything else.”
Yeah, I’ll explain that to you too. Because on December 19 after my team, my editor, my producers, my VP had spent two and a half years putting this movie together they said, “We’ll sign off on the movie if we get producer credit and our managers get producer credit.” This is the first time it was ever brought up. I sent out an email saying, “This is why I don’t think you guys should be producers because of a, b, and c. I don’t think it puts the film in the best light.”
One of my other producers said, “Fuck them.. blah blah blah” what Q-Tip read in the e-mail and accidentally hit reply all. His sentiment was the same sentiment I had. “Fuck them! You didn’t produce this movie.” And that’s it and that’s what that was.
Well it doesn’t say “Fuck them” in the e-mail, it says, “Then we’ll fuck them on everything else.”
Yeah, we’ll fuck them on everything else in regards to them being producers. I mean, I can’t read his mind as what he meant by “Fuck them on everything else.” But, the bottom line is A Tribe Called Quest shares in 50% of all the profits of the movie. That’s a signed agreement so there was no fucking them on everything else. We have an agreement.
It’s signed by all four members of A Tribe Called Quest and the Beats, Rhymes and Fights LLC, which is my side. So, we all signed it. We agreed to it. Prior to the email thing Q-Tip had went on Twitter and said, “I don’t support the documentary.” He went on Elliott Wilson, that cornball’s show, and said, “Michael Rappaport is speeding. He’s a first-time director.” All kinds of things and then he back-peddled about saying, “I don’t support the movie.”
On that interview that’s when he anointed himself as a producer. He said that on live radio. That’s the first time the whole producer thing came about.
Rapaport also addresses whether the beef was between him and Q-tip or all of the Tribe:
You had said you felt that Q-Tip was speaking for the group and in the MTV interview Ali said he was very upset about that because he said they all had edits that they wanted so it was a group thing. It was never a “Tip and you” thing.
Well, you know what, Phife is a very acceptable person. You should talk to Phife. Track down Phife and ask him what he thinks. Phife asked me to take one photograph out. He asked me to do it and then eventually said, “You know what? Keep it in.” Jarobi like I said, after he saw the screening, the rough, rugged, and raw shit said, “Do not change a thing.” Ali said I want more Ali Shaheed Muhammed and then Ali said he wanted one scene removed so his new girlfriend’s mom doesn’t see it. The most frustrating thing about it is everyone loves the movie and the group loves the movie. They said it in an interview, “We love the movie. You did a great job.” So, what’s the problem? You love it so much that you wanna have more ownership of it?
Definitely go to Complex.com and check the rest of the interview out. It is lengthy enough and well worth a read. While the email sent by one of Rapaport’s colleagues does still seem pretty shady you can kind of understand his frustration with ATCQ turning around at the last minute and wanting to be named as producers (along with their managers!) in the credits. In the interview Rapaport also addresses the band’s claims that he wouldn’t pay their way to Sundance as well as the issue of Nas’ involvement in the movie’s production.