DAR Hip Hop: The 20 Greatest Hip Hop Soundtracks

By @TrueGodImmortal

One of the greatest things in the history of hip hop has been the ability to capture music in the moment. There was a time when the greatness of the music and hip hop could be packaged into a piece of work that fit the theme and story of a feature film. Though those days aren't as relevant and prevalent currently, at one point, hip hop movie soundtracks were a must. Today, we take a look back at the best hip hop soundtracks. These are the soundtracks that were predominantly hip hop based and had enough quality to keep listeners enjoying. Let's take a look.

*Juice (1992)

-The 1992 film was full of hip hop culture and the soundtrack to the film was no different. Surprisingly, there are no songs from one of the lead actors in the film, 2Pac, but there's enough music to go around for the most avid hip hop listener. With tracks from Eric B and Rakim, Naughty By Nature, Too Short, EPMD, and more, the Juice soundtrack was early 90s hip hop at its very best with boom bap all throughout.

*Soul In The Hole (1997)

-A slept on soundtrack like this one has to make the list. I wasn't too familiar with this soundtrack or the movie in general (a documentary), but about 15 years ago I stumbled upon the soundtrack in a record store and it's been one of my favorites since then. The lineup on this soundtrack is crazy, with songs from Mobb Deep, Dead Prez, Wu-Tang Clan, Xzibit, Big Pun, Common, and many more. It's not the most well known soundtrack, but it certainly has some of the best music of any soundtrack in hip hop.

*Get Rich or Die Tryin (2005)

-One of my favorite soundtracks ever, probably top 5 for me personally, this had everything I wanted from 50 and The Unit after their momentum slowed up some. This soundtrack does the trick, as 50 brings amazing solo songs, crafts some songs for The Unit to shine and this project all around delivers. My favorite songs? "Hustler's Ambition" by 50, the G-Unit collabos, and my personal favorite "When It Rains It Pours".

*Above The Rim (1994)

-Of course, this soundtrack makes the list easily and it's one of the most revered hip hop soundtracks in the world, with good reason. It has the perfect blend of gangsta rap and R&B, but more so rap than anything. There's classics on the project, as we see some amazing tracks from the likes of Lady Of Rage, Warren G, 2Pac and The Dogg Pound, Above The Rim gave us exactly what we wanted in a hip hop soundtrack and then some.
*8 Mile (2002)

-One of the funniest things about this soundtrack is that it shouldn't have been as good as it was. The movie was dysfunctional and you'd figure that the soundtrack woukd reflect that, but it didn't really. It was a solid and cohesive soundtrack that gave listeners the in depth look at Eminem, showcased legends like Jay-Z, Rakim, and Nas, and introduced the mainstream world to 50 Cent. Em could do no wrong on this one.

*The Wash (2001)

-This film starring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg is one of those cult classics that doesn't get mentioned as much, but it is well deserving of a mention in terms of the music that accompanied the movie. With the Dr. Dre and Snoop collab "On The Blvd", the Dr. Dre and Knoc-turn'al classic "Bad Intentions", tracks from Xzibit, Bilal, D12, and many more, The Wash soundtrack gave us a truly solid listen from start to finish.

*Friday (1995)

-One of the greatest comedies of all time boasts one of the best soundtracks to exist in the genre. With a West Coast sound in the production, the soundtrack features the top tier artists from the Left Coast, with Ice Cube holding things down with the title track, along with the classic Dr. Dre track "Keep Their Heads Ringin" and songs from legends like Scarface, 2 Live Crew, Mack 10, Cypress Hill, and more. This is still a great listen some 22 years later.

*High School High (1996)

-This was the soundtrack to top all other soundtracks. It had a small element of R&B on it, but the best tracks came from the hip hop side. There are some soundtracks that feel like more R&B than hip hop, but this is completely the opposite. With a stacked lineup on the soundtrack that featured A Tribe Called Quest, Scarface, KRS-One, The Roots, RZA, Method Man, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, and De La Soul plus more, there was no chance that this project would disappoint.

*I Got The Hook Up (1998)

-Some might prefer the I'm Bout It soundtrack and that certainly has a claim here, but I think  between that soundtrack and this one, I Got The Hook Up takes the edge. It's got one of the most stacked lineups for a soundtrack of course, but in addition to just the lineup of artists, the music all delivers. Ice Cube, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Jay-Z, Soulja Slim, Eightball and MJG, UGK, Snoop, and the No Limit Crew all created dope music to round out one of the top tier hip hop soundtracks without a doubt.

*Menace II Society (1993)

-A classic hood film would have to have one of the best soundtracks, right? Of course. It has a few tracks on the R&B side, but for the most part, it's gangsta rap at its finest. Spice 1, MC Eiht, Too Short, UGK, Boogie Down Productions, and many more help lead a great lineup on a soundtrack that truly delivers from start to finish.

*Murder Was The Case (1994)

-An 18 minute short film helps to create one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of the genre and changed the way we viewed Snoop Dogg forever IMO. The soundtrack isn't all about Snoop, but the vibe was concise throughout. One of the biggest songs on the soundtrack include the Ice Cube and Dr. Dre reunion track "Natural Born Killaz", as well as tracks from Snoop, Tha Dogg Pound, DJ Quik, Nate Dogg, and more, Murder Was The Case deserves credit for being a monumental soundtrack for the genre.

*New Jersey Drive (1995)

-A truly revered soundtrack, this is also one of the most raw projects that came out in soundtrack history. With two volumes released, the boom bap sound and vibe is plentiful and the artists are top notch. On top of tracks from Heavy D, Redman, Queen Latifah, Coolio, Lords Of The Underground, and more, we get one of my favorite Outkast tracks with the undisputed classic "Benz or Beamer".

*Streets Is Watching (1998)

-Jay-Z couldn't do any wrong in the early stages of his career and this was another example of that. Though the movie itself gets mixed reviews, the soundtrack is easily one of the best to come out the genre. With Jay featured on about half of the 12 tracks on the project, it gave you a preview of what was to come from his next album and most of all, this soundtrack gave us two vital Jay songs, "Only A Customer" and the infamous Jay, Ja Rule, and DMX collabo "Murdergram". That alone gets it mentioned on this list.

*Rhyme and Reason (1997)

-The documentary is touted in hip hop circles quite often, and with good reason. It has some great music and a load of great hip hop artists on it, which adds to the legacy of this project. While you expect a solid lineup on any soundtrack, this project had some of the most top tier artists in the genre from A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes, RZA, KRS-One, E-40, and more, giving it a level of quality that we can all love.

*The Show (1995)

-Another soundtrack that doesn't disappoint and exceeds whatever expectation the fans could have had. The music here is great, and the lineup is massive. The Russell Simmons presented project packed some big names in, with 2Pac, Biggie, Bone Thugs, Dr. Dre, and many others rounding out the roster with a super slept on soundtrack. Take a trip down memory lane with this project at any given time. It's worth the listen.

*Street Fighter (1994)

-Another one of the most revered soundtracks in hip hop and it has a well deserved reputation. It features legends and growing artists at the time, and the songs flow together very well, another reason why it works so great overall. The lineup of artists? Purely classic. The Pharcyde, Ice Cube, Nas, LL Cool J, as well as a surprising track from Deion Sanders and MC Hammer, Street Fighter's soundtrack managed to see some success and gained appreciation from the hip hop culture.

*Backstage: A Hard Knock Life (2000)

-A gem that many tend to sleep on, this soundtrack was one of my favorite albums to listen to in 2000. The Roc was in a position of power at the time and they seemed poised to deliver on this project and they did that and then some. Whether it was the Mya remix with Jay-Z dropping, or the amazing Outkast track, this soundtrack had enough for everybody to enjoy. Along with tracks from The Lox, Prodigy, Beanie Sigel, and even the Hot Boys, this soundtrack works well for its intended purpose.

*Belly (1998)

-While this movie itself wasn't necessarily that great, the soundtrack was everything you would expect and then some. Any movie starting Nas, DMX, and Method Man would have to have a dope soundtrack right? Exactly. There are a number of solid tracks on this soundtrack with appearances from the three stars of the film, along with The LOX, Wu-Tang, Noreaga, Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Ja Rule, and D'Angelo. Overall, this is a great soundtrack and one listen will take you right back to 1998/1999. Good ol' nostalgia.

*Baller Blockin (2000)

-I debated putting another soundtrack here, but my personal appreciation of the original Cash Money made it so that this soundtrack gets a mention on the list. This is one of those great projects Cash Money released during their slow decline that didn't get the full credit it deserved when it dropped. Who could front on some of the tracks here? Whether it was the hit "Project Bitch" with classic Juvenile and Lil Wayne verses, or the infamous title track (that could have done without E-40) that saw Juvenile steal the show, Baller Blockin is still one of my favorite soundtracks to play.

*Sunset Park (1996)

-The last choice for me comes from one of the most underrated basketball movies and quite possibly one of the top 5 soundtracks of all time. Much like most on this list, the roster is what makes this out to be one of the more universally loved soundtracks. 2Pac, Ghostface, Queen Latifah, Groove Theory, and more are featured on this classic soundtrack. Revisit this for some great nostalgia as well.

There are more soundtracks that could have made this list, but I would have been writing a list of 35 to 40. These 20 choices are the best of the best. Check iTunes and Spotify to revisit some of these great soundtracks and hope that we can start to get dope soundtracks like this again in the future.



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