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Movie Soundtrack: Original Gangstas

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Year: 1996

Label: Noo Trybe Records

Track Listing:

  1. Inner City Blues – Ideal
  2. The World is a Ghetto – Geto Boys feat. Flaj
  3. X.O. – Luniz
  4. On The Grind – The Click
  5. White Chalk Part II – Junior M.A.F.I.A.
  6. How Many – N.O. Joe feat. 3rd Degree
  7. Flowamatic 9 – 3x Krazy
  8. Ain’t No Fun – Dino of H-Town feat. Teddy
  9. Rivals – Facemob feat. Scarface
  10. War’s On – The Almighty RSO feat. Mobb Deep
  11. Who Wanna Be The Villain – MC Ren
  12. Slugs – Spice 1
  13. How Does It Feel – Ice-T
  14. Good Stuff – Smooth

Another soundtrack album I am reviewing, and it’s from the same year as the album I previously reviewed. Detect a pattern? That’s not important. What’s important is this review. This is the soundtrack to the 1996 film “Original Gangstas,” which starred a lot of veterans in those Blaxploitation films from the 1970s, particularly the likes of Fred Williamson, Jim Brown and Pam Grier, along with supporting roles from Richard Roundtree and Ron O’Neal and they basically played original gangsters battling against a new gang that took over their old neighborhood. Hence the title. The thing about this film is no matter how cheesy it was, it still had some good music in the soundtrack (Of course, there are worse movies out there that still have good soundtracks, and I WILL touch on those later).

The opening song, “Inner City Blues,” actually started a minute into the track, because there was actually dialogue from the movie right before the song started. Anyway, the song is from Ideal, an R&B group mostly known for songs that came out a few years after this one like “Get Gone” and “Whatever.” I will say that when Ideal came out with those songs, I thought to myself “Could this be the same group that did the song from the ‘Original Gangstas’ soundtrack?” and I am certain that nobody else around me knew of this song as I remember seeing a video for this song on TV back in 1996. I also must note that this song is a cover to Marvin Gaye’s song of the same name. The song itself had a good then-up-to-date sound to it. It did not sound like the original version, but it did not need to. Plus, it went well with the movie’s theme. This is actually one of my top favorite songs. 5/5

Right after one cover comes another as the Geto Boys covered War’s “The World is a Ghetto.” Okay, so it’s not a direct cover as the verses are completely different, but the chorus and the beat have similar vibes to the original version, however, with a hip-hop twist. This song is more socially-conscious, by the way. Scarface started the song with a good verse, but the second verse stood out more as Bushwick Bill delivered some of the hardest hitting lyrics in the whole song. Check this out:

Five hundred niggas died in guerrilla warfare
In a village in Africa, but didn’t nobody care
They just called up the goddamn gravedigga
And said come get these muthafuckin niggas
Just like they do in the 5th Ward
In the South Park and The Bronx and the Watts
You know they got crooked cops
Working for the system
Makin’ po muthafuckas out of victims
Don’t nobody give a fuck about the po
It’s double jeopardy if your black or Latino
They got muthafuckin drugs in the slums
Got us killing one another over crumbs
Think I’m lying? Well muthafucka I got proof
Name a section in your city where minorities group
And I’ma show you prostitutes, dope and hard times
And a murder rate that never declines
And little babies sittin on the porch smellin’ smelly
Cryin cause they ain’t got no food in they bellies
They call my neighbourhood a jungle
And me an animal, like they do the people in Rwanda
Fools fleeing their countries to come here black
But see the same bullshit and head right back
They find out what others already know
The world is a ghetto
Willie D also delivered some hard rhymes right after Bill’s verse, but in my personal opinion, Bushwick Bill killed it in his verse. Another one of my top favorite tracks. 5/5
After two covers of classic songs, we now get an original track,”X.O.” from Luniz. The one thing that stands out the most about the song is the beat. It has a smooth, yet intense feel to it. The song’s subject matter was mostly about alcohol and getting drunk. It’s kind of basic, but the beat’s nice. 3.5/5
“On The Grind” from The Click was decent, but there were some parts that could have made the song better. Maybe it was the chorus, because the verses from Suga-T and D-Shot at the beginning were decent, but B-Legit and E-40’s verses in the second act were better, and then all four had back-to-back verses in the third act of the song. The beat wasn’t bad either. It still could have been better. 3.5/5
Junior M.A.F.I.A. kicked this album into a higher gear with “White Chalk Part II.” I am a little unfamiliar with this group other than the fact that The Notorious B.I.G. was a part of it, as well as Lil’ Kim, neither of whom had verses on this song. However, the beat was nice as were the verses, but the beat stood out more, in my opinion. 3.5/5
Still in that same gear comes “How Many” from N.O. Joe. Did I mention that this is actually one of three songs that he contributed to on this compilation? Well, it’s true, as he produced “The World is a Ghetto” and “X.O.” but here is a song that he produced and has his name as the main credit. I am not sure if he rapped on this song, because there was another guy on here. The beat is sick, though. The subject matter is sort of basic as the lyrics are rather violent. On the beat side, I rate this a 5/5 and the lyrics part probably gets 4. Overall: 4/5
It’s about to get crazy up in here. Three times crazy, that is. Okay, that sucked. Anyway, “Flowamatic 9” from 3x Krazy is one of my other favorite songs from this album. Sick beat, ill rhymes, and not a bad chorus from Suga-T of The Click. What I find weird is that 3x Krazy had named one of their compilations “Flowamatic 9” and did not include this song. Seriously, this should have been included. 5/5
Now we slow things down with another R&B song on this album. “Ain’t No Fun” from the late Dino from the group H-Town has a sexual type of feel to it that could probably get people in the mood, but the song’s subject matter left more to be desired. It’s not much different than Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None),” except it’s R&B, not rap. The beat and the vocals weren’t bad at all, as it does set the mood, but the subject matter made the song lose some points. 2.5/5
Now we’re back to that hardcore gangsta shit. “Rivals” is a song from a short-lived super-group called Facemob, that has Scarface as one of the top members, along with somewhat-known artists like DMG and Devin The Dude. Now I am familiar with Devin The Dude to some degree, but in hindsight it seemed that he was out of his element trying to be a gangsta rapper. The worst part of this song is probably the female rapper 350, but I could go on about this more on their album, “The Other Side of the Law,” which I also own and may review in the future. I have to hand it to Devin for trying and DMG had a good verse on this song. Scarface mainly had the chorus to work with, so it was mainly just to have the rest of the group shine. One of my least favorite songs on this album, but not terrible. 2.5/5
“War’s On” is from a little-known group called The Almighty RSO, and better-known group called Mobb Deep. Now I will say that I am familiar with ONE of the members of RSO, and that is Raydog aka Benzino, who was mainly known for initiating a beef with Eminem back in the early-2000s, but that’s neither here nor there. Back to the song. One thing to know is that the credit may say Mobb Deep as part of the song, it’s mainly Prodigy who has a verse. However, Havoc produced this song, so it’s still a song that involved both members. Now as for the verses in this song, the only one that stood out the most was Prodigy’s verse. Benzino (I am mainly calling him this as he was mostly known by this name) was never a great rapper and he didn’t really have a great verse either, but it was not horrible. The other RSO members were okay at best. 3/5, mainly for Mobb Deep’s contribution.
Former N.W.A. member MC Ren dropped his contribution to the soundtrack with “Who Wanna Be The Villain.” The beat is a little different from what has been heard here so far, as it has more of a scary/creepy vibe to it. Ren had always been the most underrated members of the legendary group, and he should have gotten more exposure. This song shows that he was lyrically gifted. 4/5
Now for one of my other top favorite songs on here. Spice 1 kicks dope verses in his song “Slugs,” which doesn’t have anything to do with a certain creature I will tell you that. One of the parts that I like in this song is when it pays homage to “Slippin’ Into Darkness” from War. This song reminds me of a few songs from his album “1990-Sick” which came out months before this soundtrack did. 5/5
Second to the last song and we get one from a legend in the game, the one and only Ice-T. However, “How Does It Feel” is not one of his strongest songs. That does not mean it was bad. It could have been better. I see that it’s one of those “dirty raps” so it has sexual lyrics. It has a smooth beat, and Ice delivered on the lyrics a bit, but part of it still feels weak in some areas. 3/5
The soundtrack closed out with “Good Stuff” from Smooth. This is an R&B song, by the way. The song is sort of typical with Smooth singing and talking about she needs passion and a man’s touch and all that stuff. I liked the beat, and Smooth didn’t have bad verses, but the talking parts were a weak point in the song and it overshadowed everything else. It could have been a lot better. 2/5
Does this album still hold up? I will say that this was not a top-to-bottom great album, but there were hits than misses on here. I will say that out of the R&B tracks on here, only one was actually good, another could have been better even though it had some moments, while the last one just was not great at all. As for the rap tracks, a lot of them were good, even some of the lower-rated ones had some shining moments. I like the soundtrack, but it was not a great soundtrack by any means. I recommend it, though.
3.5/5 overall

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Inner City Blues
  2. The World Is A Ghetto
  3. Slugs
  4. Flowamatic 9
  5. Who Wanna Be The Villain
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Movie Soundtracks: The Substitute

The Substitute soundtrack

Year: 1996

Label: Priority Records

Track listing:

  1. Hoo-Bangin’ – Mack 10
  2. Licorice Stiks – Intense Method
  3. Danger – Road Dawgs feat. AllFrumThaI
  4. Miami Life – Ras Kass
  5. Bring It On – Organized Konfusion
  6. Bang ‘Em Up – TRU feat. Mr. Serv-On
  7. Head Up – Young Murder Squad feat. Sh’Killa
  8. I Got That Cream – Master P
  9. Hood Life – Lil 1/2 Dead
  10. Money, Power & Women – G-Spot Geez
  11. All of Puerto Rico – Afro-Rican

Many years ago, it would seem that a lot of movies were made in order to also sell soundtrack albums to said movie. That is not to say that the movies weren’t made for people to watch, but there was once a time when an advertisement for the film’s soundtrack was placed in a trailer/TV spot, particularly a list of artists on the film’s soundtrack.

This takes me back to when I was only a young boy. Having become a hip-hop fan at a rather young age, one thing that I will note was that when I saw a TV spot for the film, “The Substitute,” the main thing that caught my attention was the list of artists there. It had a good lineup, even though I was unfamiliar with a few of them at that time. Hell, a couple of acts on this album probably didn’t even have much work after this. However, that is not to say that they didn’t have bad tracks. Regarding the film, on the surface, it looked like a knockoff of “Dangerous Minds,” which came out a year prior, except the movie had more of an action twist and the school that Tom Berenger taught at made the school that Michelle Pfeiffer taught at seem like a Christian school.

But enough about the movie, it’s time to talk about the soundtrack, and how does it hold up compared to 20 years ago.

The first track that is heard on this album is “Hoo-Bangin'” from Mack 10. This song was actually a single for this compilation back in 1996 and being that Mack 10 was at one time Ice Cube’s protege and frequent collaborator, Cube had a production credit for this song. He was also heard in the song’s chorus. As for the song itself, it has a similar sound to Mack 10’s song “Foe Life,” not to mention that he mentioned it in a verse. Here is what I mean:

I’m on the hunt for the loot, watch your pockets cause I pat em
Bailin through the hood in chucks and stacey adams
Got the spot still poppin, got your legs still rockin
Ever since foe life, my ex bitch been jockin

The song is still quite a banger. It had a good beat and Mack 10 had spit some good rhymes in it. One of my top favorite songs on this album. 5/5

The second track is “Licorice Stiks” from Intense Method. No, this song is definitely not about a certain snack. I am not familiar with this group at all. In fact, I don’t think that they had many cuts apart from this one, let alone an album. This song was produced by West Coast rap producer Rhythm D, and there was a good rhythm to it. Plus, the group’s members had some good rhymes in their verses. However, the main flaw about this song is the chorus as it got a little repetitive after a while when it talked about having “phat beats.” But still a good song, nonetheless. 4/5

“Danger” from Road Dawgs and AllFrumThaI (And that is pronounced “All From The I”) is a typical West Coast gangsta track about gangbanging with violent lyrics. One thing to know about the Road Dawgs and AllFrumThaI is that they were collaborators of Mack 10. The album’s chorus is kind of infectious, though, as it would stay in your head for a bit. However, that doesn’t mean the track is bad. It’s still a good song to listen to despite its subject matter. 4/5

The irony about this album is that while the movie was set in Miami, FL, a lot of the artists on here are West Coast rappers. Ras Kass, who is from Carson, Calif., did the song “Miami Life,” which does go with the movie’s theme, but it doesn’t really talk about the events of the film. It’s more of a song that is inspired by the film, if anything. Ras Kass’s raw vocals are backed by a smooth beat. Ras Kass did not fail to deliver his lyrics on this track. Also, the beat had an interesting feel. One of the other top tracks on this soundtrack. It was even a single back then, too. 4.5/5

Now we take it to the East Coast with Organized Konfusion’s “Bring It On.” Pharoahe Monch delivers the goods whenever he rocks the mic, and the verse he did was no exception. Prince Po also delivered some ill rhymes in his verse. One of the best tracks on this album. 5/5

Now we head down to the South in No Limit territory with “Bang ‘Em Up” from TRU (The Real Untouchables is what that stood for) and Mr. Serv-On. Truth be told, I will say that I got this song confused with “Danger” in the past because the chorus repeated itself and the beat is somewhat similar, or at least the intro to the song was. The beat was actually good, as it was produced by KLC. Mr. Serv-On had a good verse, but the weak link to this song was Silkk The Shocker’s verse. It is still a decent track nonetheless. 3.5/5

“Head Up” from the Young Murder Squad, along with a female rapper named Sh’killa, is one of my other favorite tracks from this album. This song is different from what has been heard. The beat is fast-paced, and some of the rappers on this song had good verses. I was also impressed by Sh’killa, who, like even the Young Murder Squad, is someone who I am unfamiliar with. I heard that YMS and Sh’killa have albums. I may have to cop those someday to check them out. Maybe review them, too. 5/5

And now we return to No Limit with Master P’s “I Got That Cream.” Now Master P was never a good rapper, but this song was actually decent. Actually, during this time, he was not bad. The song had a good beat, though the subject matter of this song was basic, as it talked about drug-dealing. Not a bad track. 3.5/5

“Hood Life” from Lil 1/2 Dead is also another standout track on this album. Now I know that this rapper never achieved success like some other people in the DPG family did like Snoop, Kurupt, Daz, etc. but he actually had some raw lyrics about, you guessed it, the hood life. 5/5

The next track is from an unknown group called G-Spot-Geez, and it’s called “Money, Power & Women.” Now it’s obvious that the song title was taken from a particular line from the movie “Scarface,” however the song has a smooth beat and the rappers from this group actually had some decent lyrics that weren’t braggadocious about getting money and power. I wonder what happened to this group after this came out. It doesn’t seem like they had done much after this. 4.5/5

And now for a total shift into something different. This album closes out with “All of Puerto Rico” from Miami drum and bass group Afro-Rican. This song is kind of the oddball of this album, but it’s not a bad track by any means. It just felt like a dramatic shift considering the other 10 tracks were of a certain context, even though they varied in styles. It’s a decent dance track, though. 3/5

Overall, this was a good soundtrack album. I found this at a record store in 2010 for a rather cheap price. It’s a good mix of West Coast rap with a touch of East Coast and South, and a decent dance track to cap the album off. I highly recommend you track this down.

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Hoo-Bangin’
  2. Head Up
  3. Hood Life
  4. Miami Life
  5. Danger
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