Top 100 Greatest Soundtrack Songs

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Whether a token track on an eclectic track listing to score a mainstream movie, or part of a cohesive collection of songs setting the mood for an urban flick—some of hip-hop’s finest moments were birthed on soundtracks. It’s historically allowed artists to test singles that later wound up on their album and also served as sort of a breeding ground for upstarts. Cases in point, LL Cool J (“Can’t Live Without My Radio”), Snoop Dogg (“Deep Cover”) and Nas (“Halftime”), were formally introduced on soundtracks before going on to become rap superstars. As Boyz n the Hood, which produced its own memorable soundtrack, celebrates its 20-year anniversary today (July 12), XXL takes a look at the Top 100 Greatest Soundtrack Songs of All Time.—XXL Staff

100. Ali Vegas “The Specialist” In Too Deep Soundtrack (1999)

100. InTooDeep

99. Common “High Expectations,” Soul in the Hole Soundtrack (1997)

99. SoulintheHole-Common

98. Jay-Z “Hey Papi,” The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Soundtrack (2000)

98. TheKlumps

97. The Roots “The Good, The Bad and the Desolate,” High School High Soundtrack (1996)

97. HighSchoolHigh

96. Black Rob “I Dare U,” Slam Soundtrack (1997)

96. Slam-BlackRob

95. Public Enemy “He Got Game,” He Got Game (1998)

95. HeGotGame

94. De La Soul “Chanel No Fever,” Men In Black Soundtrack (1997)

94MeninBlack

93. Beastie Boys “Lookin’ Down the Barrel of a Gun,” Beavis and Butthead Do America Soundtrack (1996)

93. BeavisandButtHead

92. Cypress Hill “Roll It Up, Smoke It Up, Light It Up” Friday soundtrack (1995)

92. Friday-CypressHill

91. Goodie Mob feat. Esthero “The World I Know” Slam Soundtrack (1998)

91. Slam-GoodieMob

90. Master P “Is There A Heaven 4 A Gangsta?” Rhyme and Reason Soundtrack (1997)

90. RhymeorReason

89. OutKast “Benz or Beamer,” New Jersey Drive Soundtrack Vol.1 (1995)

89. NewJerseyDrive-Outkast

88. Black Moon & Smif-N-Wessun “Headz Ain’t Ready,” New Jersey Drive Soundtrack Vol.2 (1995)

88. NewJerseyDrive

87. Knoc-turn'al feat. Dr. Dre “Bad Intentions,” The Wash Soundtrack (2001)

87. TheWash

86.Pharoahe Monch “Fuck You,” Training Day Soundtrack (2001)

86.TrainingDay-PharoaheMonch

85. DMX “X Is Gonna Give to Ya,” Cradle to the Grave Soundtrack (2003)

85. Cradle2theGrave

84. Jay-Z “This Life Forever,” Black Gangster Soundtrack (1999)

84. BlackGangster

83. Outkast and Cee Lo “In Due Time,” Soul Food Soundtrack (1997)

83. SoulFood

82. Xzibit “Los Angeles Times,” Soul in the Hole Soundtrack (1997)

82. SoulintheHole-Xzibit

81. Cam’ron “357,” Woo Soundtrack (1998)

81.Woo

80. Black Eyed Peas “Joints & Jams,” Bulworth Soundtrack (1998)

80. Bulworth-BlackEyedPeas

79. 50 Cent “I’ll Whoop Ya Head,” Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ Soundtrack (2005)

79. GetRichorDieTryin

78. B-Real, Method Man, LL Cool J, Coolio & Busta Rhymes “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem),” Space Jam (1997)

78. SpaceJam

77. House of Pain “Who’s the Man?,” Who’s the Man? Soundtrack (1993)

77. HouseofPain

76. Queen Latifah “The Hook” White Men Can’t Jump Soundtrack (1992)

76. WhiteMenCantJump-QueenLatifah

75. Young Bleed feat. Master P & C-Loc “How Ya Do That,” I’m Bout It Soundtrack (1997)

75. ImBoutIt

74. Double Trouble “Stoop Rap,” Wild Style Soundtrack (1983)

74.WildStyle

73. The Fugees feat. A Tribe Called Quest, John Forte & Busta Rhymes “Rumble in the Jungle,” When We Were Kings Soundtrack (1996)

73. WhenwewereKings

72. Eminem feat. 50 Cent & Obie Trice “Love Me,” 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

72. 8-MileCover

71. Trigger tha Gambler & Smooth da Hustler feat. DV Alias Christ “My Crew Can’t Go for That,” The Nutty Professor Soundtrack (1996)

71. TheNuttyProfessor-TriggerthaGambler

70. Jay-Z feat. Ja Rule & DMX “Murdergram,” Streets Is Watching Soundtrack (1997)

70. StreetsisWatching-Jayz

69. Mista Grimm feat. Warren G. & Nate Dogg “Indo Smoke,” Poetic Justice Soundtrack (1993)

69. PoeticJustice-MistaGrimm

68. Eminem “Rabbit Run,” 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

68. 8-Mile1

67. Mau Maus “Blak Is Blak,” Bamboozled Soundtrack (2000)

67. Bamboozled

66. Crooklyn Dodgers “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers,” Clockers Soundtrack (1995)

66. Clockers

65. M.O.P. feat. Krumb Snatcha “W.O.L.V.E.S.,” Training Day Soundtrack (2001)

65. Training-Day

64. OutKast “The Mighty O,” Idlewild Soundtrack (2006)

64. Idlewild-Outkast

63. Pete Rock and Large Professor “Rap World” High School High Soundtrack (1996)

63. rapworld

62. Jay-Z feat. Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel “More Money, More Cash, More Hoes,” The Corruptor Soundtrack (1999)

62. TheCorrupter

61. Main Source “Fakin’ the Funk,” White Men Can’t Rap EP (1992)

61. WhiteMenCantRap

60. Boogie Down Productions “Jack of Spades,” I’m Gonna Git You Sucka Soundtrack(1988)

60. ImGonnaGitYouSucka

59. Coacoa Brovaz "Won on Won," Sole in the Hole Soundtrack (1997)

59. SoulintheHole-CocoaBrovaz

58. De La Soul and Teenage Fan Club “Fallin’,” Judgment Night Soundtrack (1993)

58. JudgementNight-DeLaSol

57. Gang Staff feat. M.O.P. “1/2 & 1/2,” Blade Soundtrack (1998)

57. Blade

56. Prodigy “Keep It Thoro,” Backstage: A Hard Knock Life (2000)

56. Backstage-HardKnockLife-Prodigy

55. Camp Lo “Coolie High,” The Great White Hype Soundtrack (1997)

55. TheGreatWhiteHype

54. Jay-Z “La-La-La,” Bad Boys II Soundtrack (2003)

54. BadBoysII

53. Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth “I Love You Mary Jane,” Judgment Night Soundtrack (1993)

53. JudgementNight-CypressHill

51. Ghostface feat. Raekwon “Motherless Child,” Sunset Park Soundtrack (1996)

52. SunsetPark-Ghostface

52. Wu-Tang Clan All-Stars “Soul in the Hole,” Soul in the Hole Soundtrack (1997)

51. SoulintheHole-WuTangClan

50. The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri “Da B Side,” Bad Boys Soundtrack (1995)

50. Da B Side

A criminally slept on collaboration from three of the ‘90s’ most prolific figures.

49. Dogg Pound “What Would U Do,” Murder Was the Case Soundtrack (1994)

49. MurderwastheCase

Proof that DPG were no bench warmers on Death Row.

48. 2Pac “Definition of a Thug,” Poetic Justice Soundtrack (1992)

48. PoeticJustice-Pac

‘Pac adding layers to a shallow concept.

47. Pete Rock & CL Smooth “One In a Million,” Poetic Justice Soundtrack (1992)

47.PoeticJustice

Yet another example of Pete Rock’s superior ear for horn-laced samples.

46. Ice Cube “How to Survive in South Central,” Boyz n the Hood Soundtrack (1991)

46. BoyzntheHood

Cube shares rules and regulations to make it in one of the West Coast’s most notorious hoods.

45. OutKast feat. Mystikal “Neck Uv Da Woods,” The Wood (1999)

45. TheWood

A forgotten gem pairing up Kast and Mystikal for one of the animated MC’s first post-No Limit releases.

44. Method Man “The Riddler,”Batman Forever Soundtrack (1995)

44. BatmanForever-MethodMan

With "How High" barely off the press, Mr. Meth unleashed another soundtrack banger as wicked as the Batman villain it's titled after.

43. RZA feat. Capadonna & Method Man “Wu-Wear (The Garment Renaissance)” High School High Soundtrack (1996)

43. wuwearphoto

The Wu reps their apparel line years before clothing lines in hip-hop became mandatory.

42. Black Star “Little Brother,” The Hurricane Soundtrack (1999)

42. TheHurricane

The incomparable J Dilla manages to flip the Roy Ayers “Ain’t Got Time” sample that Pete Rock reportedly struggled with years prior.

41. Ghostface feat. Capadonna & Masta Killa “Winter Wartz,” Sunset Park (1996)

41. sunsetpark

Cappa gives Ghost and Killa a run for their money with a seemingly never-ending verse.

40. Sauce Money feat. Jay-Z “Pregame,” Belly Soundtrack (1998)

40. Belly

Arguably Hov and Sauce Muthafuckin’s illest collabo.

39. OutKast feat. Lil Wayne “Hollywood Divorce,” Idlewild Soundtrack (2006)

39. idlewild

Whoever said Southern rappers aren’t lyrical isn’t listening hard enough.

38. Big Pun “You Ain’t a Killer,” Soul in the Hole Soundtrack (1997)

38. SoulintheHole

A prelude to things to come on Pun’s Capital Punishment.

37. Jay-Z feat. Memphis Bleek “It’s Alright,” Streets Is Watching Soundtrack (1998)

37. StreetsIsWatching

Dame Dash mans the boards for Memph and Hov’s’98 summer anthem.

36. Eminem “8 Mile Road,” 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

36. 8-Mile2

Another ridiculously potent Em record off his semi-autobiographical flick’s score.

35. Digital Underground feat. 2Pac “Same Song,” Nuthing But Trouble Soundtrack (1990)

35. NothingButTrouble

‘Pac’s introduction to the world via this Digital classic.

34. KRS-One “Black Cop,” CB4 Soundtrack (1993)

34. CB$

The Blastmaster addressing the issue head-on.

33. LL Cool J “Going Back to Cali,” Less Than Zero Soundtrack (1987)

33. KrushGroove-LLCoolJ

A tune ill enough for Biggie Smalls to remake.

32. Nas “One on One,” Street Fighter Soundtrack (1994)

32. StreetFighter

One the hardest smooth joints you’ll ever hear courtesy of Nasty Nas.

31. The Notorious B.I.G., Coolio, Redman, Coolio, Ill Al Skratch, Big Mike, N9ne, Bone Thug-n-Harmony, Buckshot & Busta Rhymes “The Points,” Panther Soundtrack (1995)

31. Panther

A ridiculously star-studded posse cut. Biggie, Red, Bone and Bus on the same track. Nuff said!

30. Jay-Z “Who You With,” Sprung Soundtrack (1997)

30. Sprung

Jigga Man’s cocky wit at its finest.

29. Lady of Rage “Afro Puffs,” Above the Rim Soundtrack (1994)

29. AbovetheRim-LadyofRage

Death Row’s First Lady takes center stage.

28. DJay feat. Shug “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” Hustle & Flow Soundtrack (2005)

28. Hustle&Flow

Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson delivery the goods on this Three Six Mafia-penned Oscar-winning single.

27. Ice-T “New Jack Hustler,” New Jack City Soundtrack (1991)

27. NewJackCity

What Nino Brown would sound like if he could rap.

26. LL Cool J “Can’t Live Without My Radio,” Krush Groove Soundtrack (1985)

26. KrushGroove

Uncle L drops his first single and a star is born.

25. Dr. Dre “Keep Your Heads Ringin’,” Friday Soundtrack (1995)

25. Friday

A heater to hold Dre fans down during his Aftermath transition.

24. Coolio “Gangsta’s Paradise,” Dangerous Minds Soundtrack (1995)

24. DangerousMinds

Coolio skyrocketed to No.1 off a Stevie Wonder “Pastime Paradise” loop.

23. Jay-Z and Mya “Best of Me Pt.2,” Backstage: A Hard Knock Life Soundtrack (2000)

23. Backstage-HardKnockLife

Hov flaunts keeps it lyrical with an effortless flow over Trackmasters production.

22. Pras feat. Mya & Old Dirty Bastard “Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are),” Bulworth Soundtrack (1998)

22. Bulworth

Pras becomes the third Fugee to find solo success with this smash hit.

21. Onyx and Biohazard “Judgment Night,” Judgment Night Soundtrack (1993)

21. JudgementNight

The epitome of what a perfect rock and rap marriage should sound like.

20. MC Eiht “Streiht Up Menace,” Menace II Society Soundtrack (1993)

20. MenaceIISociety

This Compton MC’s in-depth portrayal of life on the West Coast made the rest of the nation take notice.

19. A Tribe Called Quest “Hot Sex,” Boomerang Soundtrack (1992)

19. Boomerang

The lone rap track on an R&B soundtrack, “Hot Sex” stood out amongst classics. The song was later sampled by Heltah Skeltah and Mary J. Blige and ended up as a bonus track on Tribe’s last LP, The Love Movement.

18. Drake feat. Lil Wayne, Eminem & Kanye West “Forever,” More Than a Game (2009)

18. MorethanaGame

Still a rookie at the time, Drizzy Drake managed to tap three of the game's biggest stars for this monstrous posse cut off of Lebron's documentary.

17. Jay-Z feat. Foxy Brown “Ain’t No Nigga,” The Nutty Professor Sountrack (1996)

17. TheNuttyProfessor

“Can I Get A...” put Jay in another stratosphere, but “Ain’t No Nigga” got the mainstream to finally noticed. The single also appeared on Hov’s Reasonable Doubt and helped the LP earn a gold plaque at the time.

16. Big Daddy Kane “Nuff Respect Due,” Juice Soundtrack (1991)

16. Juice-BigDaddyKane

Following back-to-back duds (Taste of Chocolate, Prince of Darkness) Kane silenced talk that he’d fallen off with this heater.

15. Lil’ Kim feat. Da Brat, Missy Elliot, Angie Martinez & Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes “Not Tonight,” Nothin’ to Lose Soundtrack (1997)

15. NothingtoLoose

This posse cut proved that the strength in numbers adage applied to the ladies as well.

14. Ludacris feat. Nate Dogg “Area Codes,” Rush Hour 2 Soundtrack (2001)

14. RushHour2

An international player anthem, this Jazze Pha-produced single found the ATL-ien showing off his never-ending stable.

13. Gang Starr “Jazz Thing,” Mo’ Better Blues Soundtrack (1990)

13. Mo'BetterBlues

One of the earlier examples of jazz and hip-hop fusion, this single helped pioneer a sub-genre still prevalent in hip-hop today.

12. Crooklyn Dodgers “Crooklyn,” Crooklyn Soundtrack (1994)

Crooklyn

Backed by Q-Tip production (who is ironically from Queens), these crazy ass Crooklyn kids (Buckshot, O.C., Masta Ace) made their borough proud with this BK anthem.

11. Jay-Z feat. Ja Rule & Amil “Can I Get A…,” Rush Hour Soundtrack (1998)

11. RushHour

Released in conjunction with Hov’s “Hard Knock Life,” this bubbly club banger helped make Jay into a superstar and set Rule up to launch his own multi-platinum career.

10. Naughty By Nature “Uptown Anthem,” Juice Soundtrack (1991)

10. Juice-NaughtybyNature

This Naughty gem may not have charted as high as the group’s other hits (“O.P.P,” “Hip-Hop Hooray”), but it stands as one of the group’s most memorable anthems.

9. Nas "Halftime," Zebrahead Soundtrack (1992)

9. ZebraHead

On the heels of two scene-stealing guest appearances on Main Source's "Live At the Baarbecue" and MC Search's "Back to the Grill," Nas made his solo debut on this Large Professor-produced bass-heavy single. The track proved the Queensbridge prodigy had enough star power to carry his own load and served as prelude of legendary things to come.

8. Public Enemy “Bring the Noise,” Less Than Zero Soundtrack (1987)

8. LessthanZero

Few songs embodied PE’s penchant for conveying messages through chaotic soundbeds more than this Less Than Zero Soundtrack standout. The cut appeared on PE’s epic It Takes a Nation of Million to Hold Us Back the following year and was covered by rock group Anthrax in 1991.

#Slam

7. Eric B. & Rakim “Juice (Know the Ledge),” Juice Soundtrack (1991)

7. Juice

The title track to Ernest R. Dickerson’s epic flick, this bass-heavy single served as the perfect backdrop for the thriller. The song later appeared on Eric B. & Rakim’s Don’t Sweat the Technique.

6. The Notorious B.I.G. "Party and Bullshit," Who's the Man? Soundtrack (1993)

6. WhosetheMan

5. Warren G feat. Nate Dogg “Regulate,“ Above the Rim Soundtrack (1994)

5.AbovetheRim

This blockbuster single kept the lights on for various labels in the early ‘90s. Initially released on Death Row as part of the Above the Rim Soundtrack, the smash hit added to the notorious imprint’s legacy and later served as the lead single for Warren’s triple platinum Regulate… G Funk Era on Def Jam.

4. Method Man and Redman “How High,” The Show: The Soundtrack (1995)

4. TheShow

N.W who? Dre's first order of business after leaving the world's most dangerous group, “Deep Cover” kick-started (though released on SOLAR Records)Death Row Records' dominating run and introduced rap's next superstar: Snoop Doggy Dogg.

3. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg “Deep Cover,” Deep Cover Soundtrack (1992)

3. DeepCover

N.W who? Dre's first order of business after leaving the world's most dangerous group, “Deep Cover” kick-started (though released on SOLAR Records)Death Row Records' dominating run and introduced rap's next superstar: Snoop Doggy Dogg.

2. Public Enemy “Fight the Power,” Do the Right Thing Soundtrack (1989

DotheRightThing

Chances are Mookie had Public Enemy in mind when he picked up a garbage can and threw it through the window of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria as a protest of Radio Raheem’s death. The track not only banged, it demanded a call to action. Rosie Perez’s opening dance number in the movie also made the track that much more memorable.

1. Eminem "Lose Yourself," 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

1. 8-mile

Perhaps no soundtrack song has balanced critical acclaim and commercial success better than Eminem's "Lose Yourself." The first single off Slim's semiautobiographical picture 8 Mile, it peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, pushed the soundtrack to a double platinum plaque and won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song.

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