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Retrospective: 11 Underrated Black Movie Soundtracks


By @TrueGodImmortal


Over the years, black film has blessed us with many legendary soundtracks and some of the best music their respective genres have seen. We have discussed the best of the best in terms of soundtrack before, so today, I wanted to take a different route and look at some of the more underrated black movie soundtracks. Which soundtracks actually make this list? Let's take a look.

*Blue Streak 


-Some people actually forgot about this soundtrack, but it was always a personal favorite of mine. While this wasn't a classic in the way that Juice or Above The Rim soundtracks were, this featured some good music from top tier artists like Jay-Z with his hit single "Girl's Best Friend", "Rock Ice" by the entire Cash Money Millionaire crew, and the hilarious yet catchy "Criminal Mind" by Tyrese and Heavy D. Keith Sweat, Da Brat, Ja Rule, Foxy Brown, and others make appearances to round out a solid soundtrack for a pretty funny film that is an underrated comedy itself.

*The Players Club


-You might be familiar with this soundtrack, but I'm certain you are familiar with the movie. The movie that made me a fan of Lisa Raye had an actual successful soundtrack that went platinum and nearly topped the charts as well. With music from Ice Cube (the infamous "We Be Clubbin", "Who Are You Lovin", and "My Loved One"), Master P ("You Know I'm A Hoe"), Jay-Z ("From Marcy To Hollywood"), Scarface ("You Delinquent"), Kurupt ("Under Pressure"), and more, the soundtrack was a good complement to the movie and featured some great music for sure.

*The Nutty Professor 


-If you see the Def Jam name on any soundtrack, you can bet that it will likely lead to something major. For The Nutty Professor soundtrack, the label went above and beyond. With music from some of the best and biggest artists in the game from Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige, and Case ("Touch Me, Tease Me") to Jay-Z ("Ain't No Nigga") to Montell Jordan and Slick Rick ("I Like") even LL Cool J ("Doin' It Again") and AZ Yet ("Last Night"), this soundtrack was a great blend of that R&B sound and smooth yet rugged hip hop. I actually have a hard time comparing the two soundtracks for both Nutty Professor movies, as I feel they both were solid and fit well with the movie (I'll get to the second one a little later).

*House Party 2


-Many people crowned the first House Party soundtrack as a classic and I can mostly agree to that. However, the second was just as good if not slightly better, and features music that of course fit the movie, but also fit the era perfectly. Whether it was Kid N Play with their fun brand or music (the classic "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody"), Tony! Toni! Tone! and their soulful vibes (the masterful "House Party II/I Dont Know What You Come To Do"), Bell Biv Devoe ("Let Me Know Something"), or Ralph Tresvant ("Yo Baby Yo"), the soundtrack definitely delivered and set the tone for what was a great sequel to the original.

*Life 


-How often do you see a soundtrack mostly produced by R. Kelly? Rarely, if ever right? Well, for the classic comedy Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, R. Kelly went into the lab and produced a majority of the tracks on this soundtrack and the result turned out to be pretty good. Despite R. Kelly and his heavy involvement, we got to hear other voices and artists on this project like Maxwell (on the R. Kelly penned classic "Fortunate"), K-Ci and Jojo (the title track that features the legendary line "TIME IS SLIPPING AWAY FROM ME"), Kelly Price ("It's Gonna Rain"), Mya ("Why Should I Believe You"), and the underrated group City High ("What Would You Do"). This wasn't a classic soundtrack, but it was a very solid listen from beginning to end.

*Set It Off


-While the movie itself wasn't one of my favorites (I liked it, just not as much as I did the other movies on this list), the soundtrack was full of great sounds and rhythms with an eclectic group of artists featured. From the Organized Noize and Queen Latifah collab (the title track) to Goodie Mob dropping a solid track ("Angelic Wars") to a Busta Rhymes joint ("Live To Regret) to an En Vogue classic "Don't Let Go") all the way down to the massive collab between Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan ("Missing You"), this soundtrack provided more than enough good music for fans of the movie and fans in general.

*The Wood


-A soundtrack that took some classics and mixed them in with new songs, the music inspired by the motion picture The Wood was actually top notch to me. While The Best Man is of course regarded as a better soundtrack (and it is), I still enjoyed the music overall from this project. With a vast group of artists on this soundtrack, the sound ranges from southern hip hop (Cash Money makes an appearance on "The Hood" while Mystikal and Outkast deliver "Neck Uv Da Woods") to the boom bap conscious vibe (The Roots deliver on "Ya All Know Who") to the East Coast sound (DMX on "I Can, I Can"), all the way down to the traditional R&B style (Blackstreet and R. Kelly both contribute). From start to finish, this is a great listen, and while I wouldn't say it was one of the greatest soundtracks ever, it was definitely in the tier just below the all time greats.

*Bad Boys 2


-Despite being one of the most successful soundtracks ever in hip hop, the Bad Boys 2 soundtrack doesn't get enough of a mention with the classics. Sometimes it feels as if people forgot just how powerful this soundtrack was during the 2003 summer. With the Bad Boys 2 soundtrack conveniently released by Bad Boy Records as P. Diddy executive produce it, it was bound to be a smash hit. The soundtrack features big songs from Jay-Z (with his Excuse Me Miss sequel "La-La-La"), Nelly and Diddy himself (alongside Murphy Lee on the hit "Shake Ya Tailfeather"), Beyonce ("Keep Giving Your Love To Me"), Justin Timberlake ("Love Don't Love Me"), and even Biggie and 50 Cent ("The Realest Niggas). Overall, this had a lot of good music on it and it is right up there with some of the best soundtracks IMO.

*Brown Sugar 


-It should be no surprise that a movie about hip hop would have a solid soundtrack from top to bottom. When I first gave this soundtrack a listen, I admittedly expected it to be more Neo Soul instead of actual hip hop, but in essence, it was the perfect blend between the two. Whether we got greatness from Mos Def (the title track was split into three parts, with two being done by Mos alone and another being done with Talib Kweli as Blackstar), Erkyah Badu and Common (the classic ode to hip hop "Love Of My Life"), Jill Scott ("Easy Conversation"), or others like Mary J. Blige, The Roots, and Angie Stone, this soundtrack doesn't disappoint. It fits the overall vibe of the movie and that's all you can ask for from a solid soundtrack.

*Next Friday


-While the original Friday soundtrack is a classic, I rarely hear people reference the sequel and the music behind it. That's criminal IMO because this soundtrack has some great artists and good music on it. A slight departure from the West Coast only sound of the original film's soundtrack, this project features music from Ice Cube of course ("You Can Do It" is still a monster hit), Pharoahe Monch ("Livin It Up"), Aaliyah ("I Don't Wanna"), Big Tymers and Lil Wayne ("Good Friday"), and the N.W.A. reunion track ("Chin Check"). Is this a classic soundtrack? No, but it should definitely get a mention or two.

*Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps


-I will be honest. Part of me was sleeping on this soundtrack in a way. I loved the soundtrack when I initially heard it, but time passed and I didn't revisit it as much. Since then, I've gone back to take repeat listens and this was actually one of the best soundtracks of the early 2000s for any movie, not just a black film. With Def Jam behind the soundtrack, we got a roster of artists contributing that was top notch from Jay-Z ("Hey Papi"), DMX ("I'm Gonna Crawl Remix"), Sisqo and Foxy Brown ("Thong Song Uncensored"), Eminem and Redman (the supremely underrated track "Off The Wall"), and a single from Janet Jackson herself ("Doesn't Really Matter"). All in all, this is one of the best soundtracks on this list which should be mentioned with the greatest of them all.

-True

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