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Movie Soundtrack Review – Tales From The Hood

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Year: 1995

Label: 40 Acres and a Mule Musicworks/MCA Records

Track Listing:

  1. Let Me At Them – Wu-Tang Clan
  2. Face Mob – Facemob feat. Scarface
  3. Tales From The Hood – Domino
  4. Born II Die – Spice 1
  5. Ol’ Dirty’s Back – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
  6. I’m Talkin’ To Myself – NME & Grench The Mean 1
  7. The Hood Got Me Feelin’ The Pain – Havoc & Prodeje feat. Dawn Green
  8. One Less N***a – MC Eiht
  9. From The Darkside – Gravediggaz
  10. Death Represents My Hood – Bokie Loc
  11. Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto – The Click
  12. The Grave – NGN feat. Killa

Prior to starting this blog, I had plans to write pieces on a bunch of albums in my collection and until now, I decided to wait until a particular time to write one on the soundtrack to the 1995 film “Tales From The Hood.” Now why did I wait until October to write a review on this film’s soundtrack? I figured because it’s Halloween-time and what better time than to write it on this? Anyway, let’s get on with it.

This album is quite a mixed bag, but I don’t mean in terms of quality. I mostly mean in terms of style. On one hand you have songs that are dark and creepy. On another hand you have some songs that are just straight violent and have more of a gangsta feel, and then you have some songs that either have some somber feel to it or just a little more of a straight hip-hop feel to it. So despite being the soundtrack to a horror film, it is not a horrorcore rap album, at least not at 100 percent.

To put it bluntly on the latter category, a couple of good examples of just straight hip-hop are the tracks, “Let Me At Them” and “Ol’ Dirty’s Back,” both of which are from two Wu-Tang Clan members, Inspectah Deck and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. First thing I must note is that even though it says that it’s a Wu-Tang Clan song, it’s only Inspectah Deck on the song. Not that it’s a bad thing, as it’s a standout track from him, but it could have just listed him instead of the group’s name or at least “Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan.” Anyway, “Let Me At Them” is a good track to kick things off as it is Deck spitting some sick rhymes in the process. It almost feels like he has one long verse in the song and he even produced the beat, according to the booklet. What a way to kick it off.

Now what about the ODB track? The only thing that I didn’t like about the track was the intro, with some boy calling out the names of west coast rappers, but then ODB said “Enough respect to the west coast,” as it is no dis to them. The beat on this song was rather grimy and ODB, along with his brother 12 O’Clock, had some good rhymes on this song. So score another one for the Wu on this album.

Regarding the gangsta tracks, “Face Mob” from…well, Facemob was actually a hardcore track in its own right. The first verse was done by Scarface and I think DMG and Smit-D were the ones who did the other two. The beat had a dark and gritty feel for the song and the lyrics went with it. While The Click’s “Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto” had a more upbeat feel to it with its beat, while the verses from each member were good, but it seems that E-40 and B-Legit had more than D-Shot and Suga-T, not to mention that she had the shortest verse on the song. Of course, frequent Sick-Wid-It collaborator, Levitti, provided the vocals on the chorus. And then you have a more somber-type of song from MC Eiht called “One Less N***a.” This song is like a mix of “Take Two With Me” and “Nuthin’ But Da Gangsta” from his first solo album, “We Come Strapped.” It has a more mellow yet somber beat that is mixed with hardcore lyrics. Not a bad mixture. I wouldn’t doubt if he had done this song not long after that album as it is similar to those two aforementioned tracks.

Then you have “The Hood Got Me Feelin’ Pain” from Havoc & Prodeje of South Central Cartel, NOT to be confused with Mobb Deep (The spelling of Prodeje is different from Prodigy), which is a song about the hard times in the hood. It felt like an emotional song from these guys and they spoke about the struggles. Dope track in my opinion.

Domino’s “Tales From The Hood” talks about the trials and tribulations of living in the hood as well. Domino mostly sang on this track and I think that was mostly his style looking back, as I still don’t really know much about him outside of “Getto Jam.” The rapper, Chill, on this track did a decent verse. Also, the beat was rather mellow, yet a little creepy.

Now we get to the horrorcore tracks. The odd thing about these tracks is that the majority of them were done by guys I have never even heard of before buying this album, while two other tracks were done by guys who are more known. I will start with the more known guys first.

Let me just say that one of the horrorcore tracks that stood out the most in this album was “Born II Die” from Spice 1. Now I know Spice 1 has more of a gangsta-style in his music, but this song has horror written all over it with his graphically violent lyrics and rather horror-style beat. Hell, I wonder if the beat that was used in the trailer for the film was a slowed down version of this song. If you saw the movie, there is no denying how well it went with that sequence.

“From The Darkside” by Gravediggaz also has a horror-like beat to it. It seems that it sampled some opera song. The beat was mixed by Prince Paul. I am going to tell you right now, you will get the chorus stuck in your head with them saying “You are dumb, and deaf, and blind.” It’s just infectious in an odd way.

Now we get to the three tracks from the unknowns. I don’t know if any of these guys had recorded albums after this, but if not, it’s a real shame, because these three songs are exceptional and have a good horrorcore vibe to them. Not to mention that the rappers had good verses in those songs. My favorite of the three is “The Grave,” especially when you hear that deep voice and that evil laugh towards the end of the song. However, “I’m Talkin’ To Myself” and “Death Represents My Hood” are still good tracks.

I have to say that this was a good soundtrack to an underrated horror film that I have seen. You have some straight-up hip-hop tracks, a couple of songs that talked about life in the hood, then you also have gangsta tracks and also horrorcore tracks. I mean it’s good that there was some variety on this soundtrack. Overall, I give it a 4/5.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Born II Die
  2. The Grave
  3. Let Me At Them
  4. Hot Ones Echo Through The Ghetto
  5. Death Represents My Hood
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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror

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Year of Release: 2006

Film Studio: Xenon Pictures/Social Capital Films/Bloodworks/Snoopadelic Films

Another Snoop Dogg horror film review? Huh? I know, it’s kind of odd considering I was unsure if I would even do this, but I managed to find a way to watch it and figured why not. What separates this film from “Bones” is that this was not a wide release as according to IMDB this film had a rather limited release before coming out on DVD. Another that separates this from “Bones” is that “Hood of Horror” is an anthology film that has three different stories told, a la “Tales From The Crypt” and “Creepshow.”

However, what I will also say is that when it comes to horror movies with Bigg Snoop Dogg, I actually prefer “Bones” in this case. Why? I will get to that. But in the meantime, I am going to give a synopsis about each of the stories that were told.

The first story was about this girl named Posie, played Daniella Alonso, who has a problem with three gangbangers and they have a problem with her too for having tagged on their turf. At some point Posie meets a derelict, played by Danny Trejo, who gives her a tattoo on her arm, which also indicates that she was given a power to be able to eliminate people. It’s like that saying, with great power comes responsibility.

The second story was about this racist couple inheriting a home from the father of the husband. In their inheritance, they have to live in the home with four African-American Vietnam vets, whom also served with the late father of the new landlord. The couple, however, don’t respect the vets and use them as slaves and also harass them in the process, which infuriates the group greatly.

The third and final story is about a rapper who gets famous and is then confronted by a mysterious woman who shows him about his rise to fame and what happened to his friend and how some things are more important than fame.

Now I am about to break down about what I thought regarding these stories. The first thing that I will say that is all stories ranked from worst to best in the order they were shown.

The moment the first story started, the thing that irritated me the most was the acting. As great as Daniella Alonso is to look at in this film, her acting was just unbearable, as was the acting from some of the other actors, especially Noel Gugliemi. Regarding Gugliemi, I am aware that he is typecast as a gang member in a lot of movies, and I have read that he has been down that road before, so I can’t complain about him. Alonso, however, hammed it up in the scenes she was in. I haven’t seen her in a lot of other things, so I can’t comment on her acting as a whole but she just did not do well in this film. As for Danny Trejo, well I am used to seeing him play Danny Trejo, even though he came off as menacing in his role. The story also did not make sense in the end and I thought the ending didn’t convey the message that it tried to tell.

The second story was a mixed bag for me. The villains, played by former “Baywatch” babe Brande Roderick and Anson Mount, who I mostly remember seeing in that Britney Spears star vehicle, “Crossroads,” did not really give me much reason to hate them. Yes, they were total jerks in the movie but they didn’t really make me hate them enough to want to see them get theirs. Ernie Hudson, who played one of the vets in this story, actually saved it for me. I can never complain about seeing him on my screen as I have always respected him as an actor and I like some roles of his, like in “The Substitute” and “Ghostbusters.” However, I cannot say anything about the writing. While the story was predictable, I have to hand it to the writers for coming up with something a bit original towards the end of it. It was a lot better than the first story, but at the same time it suffered from predictability and hammy acting.

Now the movie kicked it into a higher gear with the third and final story. I have to say that this one was the most interesting of the bunch as I will admit that I felt a slight chill in my spine when I watched it. Aries Spears of MADtv fame appeared in this story as Quon, the best friend of the rapper Sod, played by Pooch Hall. While Hall was the main character of this story, Spears was the secondary main character of this one. I am mostly used to seeing him do comedic roles. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t funny in this, he was but in a really creepy way. I also didn’t mind the performance from former professional wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page. However, there wasn’t really much story to be told considering how short it was and we didn’t really see how Sod rose to the top of the rap world. At first we see when he was a nobody and then a year later we see him at the top of his game. If it were made into a full-length movie, it would have been better.

Now where did Snoop fit into all of this? Well he was the narrator of the film and played what appeared to be the devil in the story. He would appear in between stories talking about what happened and then would talk about the next story. He basically like he always does, and it is not that different than his performance in “Bones.” I will say that when he had two gorgeous woman by his side, it somehow reminded me of the video to Coolio’s “Too Hot.” If you’ve seen that video, you will know which part I am talking about. Also, he has a few on the soundtrack, one of which was played in the credits. I also must add that there were animated sequences that happened in between. The animation reminded me of “The Boondocks” and “Afro Samurai,” which was among the very few positive qualities about this film.

Now why do I prefer “Bones” to this movie? Here’s why: I actually got a little more scares from that one than I did this and it had a better story. The only story from this movie that I actually would give a pass to is the third one and even there was not a lot of time to develop it. The second story didn’t have enough to keep me into it with the exception of Ernie Hudson. The first story was just bad. When it comes to horror anthology movies, I very much prefer “Tales From The Hood,” which is an underrated movie in my personal opinion. This movie just failed on some levels for me. Despite a few somewhat positive qualities, I think that this movie failed on multiple levels.

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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – Bones

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Year of Release: 2001

Production Company: New Line Cinema

As part of my October special, I was conflicted on what to start with. For a while I wanted to review some soundtrack albums to horror films and also some horrorcore rap albums. However, I decided to kick this off with a review of a horror film that came out many years ago and happened to have starred a rapper.

Horror movies come in different shapes and sizes. In fact, a lot of movie genres do. When it comes to horror movies, you have your tales of the supernatural, you have your slasher movies, you have your vampire movies, you have your stories related to the undead. I could go on. The genre itself has quite a following. I am not usually a fan of such films, but I will watch them and I do find myself enjoying them at times.

I will say that I am a movie buff and while this blog is not geared towards movies in general, “Bones” is a movie that I wanted to touch on because it starred Snoop Dogg. In fact, this came out the same year as two other movies in which he had played a big role in, which were “Baby Boy” and “The Wash.” Come to think of it, “Bones” came out in between those two other films and the difference between this one and the other two is the Snoop had top billing in “Bones.” I must add that I know that he had appeared in “Training Day,” which also came out that same year but he was only in one scene, so that doesn’t exactly count (Or does it?). I am not sure if this movie was made with Snoop in mind as the titular character, but with him being a big-named rapper, maybe it was meant to be star vehicle for him.

The plot of the film goes like this: In 1979, Jimmy Bones (Snoop), a well-respected gangster and philanthropist for his neighborhood, was murdered in his home. However, more than two decades later, some people decide to buy his house to make a dance club out of it. What the people don’t realize is that the place is haunted with Bones’s spirit and a lot of people from that neighborhood tell them to avoid going into that place. Of course the people don’t and still go ahead with the development of their club. All of a sudden, Patrick (Khalil Kain), one of the DJ’s who is involved in the development, meets Cynthia (Bianca Lawson), the daughter of Pearl (Pam Grier), who was Bones’s lover when he was alive. Pearl advocates everyone to stay away from the building. One other thing is that Patrick is the son of Jeremiah (Clifton Powell), who was Bones’s friend and right-hand man. So things are connected for the most part.

According to some sources, this movie was shot on a $16 million budget, but it made only half of the money at the box office. I am not sure if that was only for the United States or if it was the worldwide gross, but it is safe to say that this movie was a bomb when it came out. I didn’t first watch this in theaters, by the way. I watched it on cable and for what it was, it was an okay time-waster. It’s funny to see some of the effects that were done for blood. Rather than use blood squibs, a lot of the blood looked like watered-down paint. Well, at least they tried to keep it practical as opposed to using CGI-blood. Now that I think about it, I don’t recall seeing too many fake effects that were used. It seemed like a lot of effects were physical. For example, the wall of the spirits of the dead seemed rather physical to me. So I can’t complain too much about the effects, even with the use of maggots towards the end, no matter how disgusting that was.

However, I see a lot of problems with the writing and acting. First, I will talk more about the writing. Now I am not so sure what the writers were trying to go for. I read how a lot of scenes were lifted, paid homage if you will, to past horror films. A friend of mine told me that the maggots bit at the club landing on the food was done in “The Lost Boys” during a dinner scene with people eating rice. It’s been a while since I have seen that film, so I might have to see that for myself. Well, I don’t have a problem with lifting elements from other films. But I might have to talk about some other problems with the story.

There will be a few spoilers right here, so read at your own risk.

While it was said that Jimmy Bones was a gangster who was well-respected and gives back to the community, I don’t necessarily see what kind of activity he was involved in as he was against pushing drugs. It didn’t exactly say what he did, just that he was loaded and was against drugs. Also, he was murdered by bent cop Lupovich (Michael T. Weiss), who also played a big role in the story, along with Eddie Mack (Ricky Harris), as well as Jeremiah. So Bones wants revenge on those who had wronged him. I get that, but why go after the people who had nothing to do with his death as well? I will get to that, but it almost seemed like we were supposed to root for him at that point in the film, like he was the good guy. It was almost confusing whether he was the villain or hero during that point of the film. I must point out that Patrick and his crew, along with Cynthia decided to sleep over at the house to test out the place. One of the creepiest scenes in the movie involved Cynthia sleeping and during this sequence, she gets molested by the ghost of Jimmy Bones and alongside that sequence, she has a dream of her getting covered in blood. I know that it was shown to be the spirit of Jimmy Bones haunting those who disturb him and in what used to be his house. However, what I find disturbing is that later on Cynthia was revealed to be Jimmy’s daughter with Pearl. *GASP* Okay, I understand that Jimmy and Pearl were a couple very much in love and she had conceived her right before Jimmy was killed, but that was revealed a bit later in the film, sometimes AFTER the spirit harassed Cynthia in her sleep. Also, I still don’t understand the ending of the film that Cynthia possessed by Bones’s spirit and maggots came out of her mouth. I wonder if there was a plan for a sequel back then.

Also, he went after Patrick and the crew because they weren’t wanted in his house and bought his property, so I guess he went after them because of it.

End spoilers.

As for the acting, well it seemed like the more believable performances were done by Harris, Grier and Powell. Ricky Harris did well playing an aging pimp and drug pusher. Grier also had a good performance in her role, whether it was as a concerned mother and also girlfriend to Bones. Also, I can never complain when I see Clifton Powell on screen, even in duds like “Hot Boyz.” Snoop, on the other hand, just seemed to be playing himself in the movie, or at least his hip-hop persona as how it was done at that point. He was not playing a gangbanger type but rather a well-suited gangster. He was a little intimidating when he was in the form of the ghost. Plus, I liked the makeup that was used on him towards the end that made him look more evil and scarier. Now what about the other characters? Bianca Lawson had little emotion in some scenes that she was in. The only time I saw her express anything in her role was during the scene when she was sleeping. Khalil Kain did alright in his role. So I can’t complain about the acting too much, except maybe from Snoop.

One thing I will point out is that I noticed something funny about the wigs and hair in some scenes. In some scenes when Bones was in his dark spirit form, I can tell Snoop wore a wig because of the length and it looked a bit fake. His hair was a bit shorter during that time and it was about the right length during the flashback scenes and when Bones was with Pearl towards the end. I also noticed that it seemed like certain scenes were filmed at certain times because Pam Grier’s hairstyle was an afro during the flashbacks and towards the end when she wore the dress while dancing with Snoop. Whereas when she saw her reflection, it was the present day version with the dreads. At least they kept with how she was supposed to look.

Eh, I will say that despite a lot of the movie’s problems, I can think of other movies that might be worse than this one. Looking back I am surprised at how this movie was even in theaters. Was it because the producers thought that Snoop Dogg would draw crowds? Nobody knows. Other than that, it was a bit fun, okay if you will. Good? Far from the case, but like I said, I have seen worse.

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Review: Method & Red Episode 3 – Well Well Well

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Original Air Date: June 30, 2004

Hello, readers. Before I get into this episode review, I have to make an announcement. It’s now October and for a while I had planned on doing reviews of some movie soundtracks to horror films such as Bones and Tales From The Hood, as well as maybe some horrorcore rap albums, like from the Gravediggaz or Flatlinerz. I don’t really have a lot of those, so I will make do with what I have. I also want to do a review of the movie, Bones, the one with Snoop Dogg, but I just need to get my hands on it first. Some other ones like Hood of Horror may have to wait. However, this ALSO means that I may have to put my reviews of Method & Red episodes on hold for a bit, or at least do a few at a time. I am not breaking my promise about doing the whole series. I just won’t do it as consistently as I initially planned.

Anyway, onto the review.

This episode was about Method Man’s mom’s 25th anniversary at her job and Meth wants to hold a bigger party than what she got at her place of work, a toll booth. Meth and Red want to get Chaka Khan to sing at the party, which Red promised to do. However, Meth deals with problems of his own and that is Nancy blasting Kenny Loggins’s music in her home. The reason? Because Meth has a grudge against him (More on that later). While trying to set up the party, Method Man and Redman suck up all the power in the neighborhood, as a way to stick it to Nancy. However, Red couldn’t get Chaka Khan to perform, and Nancy managed to suck the power from Method Man and Redman after talking to the electric company. So what is the next thing to do? In order to please Nancy as well, Method Man had to go settle his differences with Kenny Loggins so that he can perform.

This was another episode that stood out to me. I remember it because somehow they got Kenny Loggins and Chaka Khan to appear in this episode, and also the flashback sequences. I crack up at Redman’s afro wig, same with the flashback sequence that explained why Meth has an issue with Loggins: He used to be Kenny’s assistant and he used to push him around, which Meth hated. I also liked how Loggins addressed Method Man by his real name, Clifford Smith. Plus, Beth Littleford did well when Nancy was excited to see Loggins perform at the party. So I actually thought that this was one of the better episodes of the show so far.

Overall, this episode was actually decent and a little less goofy than the previous episode. I still believe that The Article was more over the top because of the birthday party sequence, especially with the appearance of Downtown Clowny Brown and the Super Squad 4. I don’t know when I will do the next episode because of my plans for this month. Until then, thanks for reading.

Preview and editorial: Method and Red TV series

Review: Method & Red Episode 1 – Pilot

Review: Method & Red Episode 2 – The Article

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