Top 7 Hip-Hop Movie Soundtracks – Bangin’ Background Music
Believe it or not, The Cosby Show was revolutionary and A Different World was even more so. Before the culture vultures swooped in and gave any nigga with a decent pitch a reality show it was a REALLY big deal to see your culture represented on the big screen. Sure, Black people had movies all day; but young Black people with movies to cater to them? Shit was type amazing. The trickle down effect of these movies was that you'd always get soundtracks to go along with them, and these compilations housed some amazing moments in music. So with no further adieu I present to you my Top 7 OST’s from hip-hop related films.
ABOVE THE RIM
This is an interesting one to me because I find it intriguing that an album that is so West Coast is tied to a movie that is so East Coast. Maybe it had something to do with Tupac's leading role in the film but we can't blame Death Row's involvement on him because, well, he wasn't signed to the Row yet. *shrug* Either way, Suge and Dre put together one of the better compilations of music for a hip-hop film ever. While a few random cats like Rhythm & Knowledge popped up with jams (“U Bring Da Dog Out”), this album housed both the Wu-Tang-less version of SWV's "Anything (Remix)" and Warren G's "Regulate."
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Say what you want about the movie, but this soundtrack kicked ass. From Usher to Babyface to TLC, LaFace's roster were the front and center stars, but when they weren't soaking up the shine everybody else was dropping bombs, too. The album was definitely heavy on the uptempo breezy R&B, but leave it to both Tha Dogg Pound and Tupac to come roughen up the edges. "Definition of a Thug Nigga" pushes this one over the edge right along with "One In A Million" (Pete Rock & CL Smooth) and "Waiting for You" (Tony! Toni! Tone).
WHO’S THE MAN
Okay, this may be my favorite soundtrack to a hip-hop movie ever—flat out! It was chockfull of jams. It was where I was first introduced to The Notorious B.I.G. with a song that quite possibly is one of his best ever recorded (“Party & Bullshit”). Let’s face it, though, Bad Boy owned this record; even their lesser known associates like Jesse West aka 3rd Eye were gettin busy.
BOYZ N THE HOOD
Man, listen, this album right here is classic, and I'm willing to argue this one 'til I'm blue in the face. Name a bad song on here… It's impossible. Tony! Toni! Tone!'s classic ballad "Just Me and You" lived on this soundtrack along with the song "Spirit" by Force One Network. And while I still have no idea who the hell those guys are this is a pretty dope song. This album had top-notch contributions from everybody including Yo-Yo, CMW, Main Source and, of course, Ice Cube.
MENACE II SOCIETY
Yeah, looking back at the track list for this album it seems like one of those “had to have been there” kinda albums. But I was there, so it makes the cut. Mind you, it had some really incredible songs from some great West Coast artists like Spice-1 and Ant Banks (SO FUCKING UNDERRATED/SLEPT ON) it also had some really strange moments like "Stop Lookin' at Me." All in all, though, you can’t deny an album that housed both "Top of the World" and the "Pocket Full of Stones (Remix)."
"Uptown Anthem," anybody? "Juice (Know the Ledge)"? Hell, "Is It Good To You"?!? Okay, maybe you ain't fuck with that last track like I did, but this shit is a masterpiece. Any album that has standout Big Daddy Kane and Eric B & Rakim cuts is worthy of going down in the annals of hip-hop history as a notable contribution. They even gave the West Coast some love with MC Pooh and Too $hort appearances.
NEW JERSEY DRIVE
Okay, I won't front like I loved this soundtrack wholeheartedly. There were blatant questionable moments on it, but there were some equally incredible standout moments, too. And this shit was like two albums long. “Benz Or Beamer?” “Hedz Ain’t Ready?” “All About My Fetti?” Man, this joint worked hard to have songs that everybody could vibe out to. In the end, it was a spotty compilation, but it really represented what was going on in music at the time.