Movie Soundtrack Review – Tales From The Hood


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

Album Review: X-Raided – Xorcist


Year: 1995

Label: Black Market Records

Track Listing:

  1. Open Tha Casket
  2. I Ain’t Dead Yet
  3. Recognize (Feat. Babe Reg & Lunasicc)
  4. Body Count (Feat. Da Misses)
  5. Collect Call
  6. Check Your Bitch
  7. Blaze Up
  8. Wanna Get High? (Feat. Lunasicc)
  9. Unxplainable
  10. Deuce-5 To Life
  11. Unfukwitable (Feat. Da Misses & Babe Reg)
  12. Liquor, N***z & Triggaz (Feat. Brotha Lynch Hung & Sicx)
  13. Done Deal (Feat. Da Misses)
  14. Brainz
  15. Witta Mask On (Feat. Da Misses, Killa Hoe, Chopah & Lunasicc)
  16. Mo Brainz

When looking at underground rappers from certain areas, more often than not they become famous among some circles. What is odd is that while I am a native of Sacramento, Calif., I remember some people I know tell me that they are familiar with not-so-big names from various parts of the United States, or even the world for that matter. For example, a friend of my uncle’s had served in the military and was told that he knew some fellow marines whom known about Sacramento rappers, only to find out that they weren’t from California, let alone Sacramento. It could be said that I mostly know of X-Raided because he is from Sactown himself, and also the fact that I remember looking at my uncle’s rap CD collection at the tender young age of 9 and noticing a name I have never heard of before. A cousin of mine told me that he is from Sacramento, which made me realize that music acts come from all over, but I was still a naive boy at the time.

For years I was curious about this rapper, even though I was a little familiar with other rappers from my area like C-Bo, Brotha Lynch Hung, First Degree The DE, etc., but what got me is the name and the artwork of the album. I tested out a sample on the internet sometime later, like in 2000 or something, and from what I had heard, the voice of X-Raided sounded in low quality in contrast to how the beat sounded, and I was confused why he sounded a bit robotic. That is until I was told by my cousin about why it sounded that way.

Before I go into critiquing this album, I will go into some of the background of this album. Anerae Brown, better known as X-Raided, was in prison around the time that this album was produced. I am not going to go into the details of what happened, as the information can be found all over the internet, but with him incarcerated, what could be explained about the low quality of his voice on the songs is the fact that he recorded his verses through a prison phone and the production team implemented his verses into the songs during the production of the album. However, that does not mean the quality in his verses changed because of the sound.

The album kicks off with an introductory skit called “Open Tha Casket” that has someone singing in the background and another person talking, giving a shout-out to those who aren’t living anymore and mentioning X-Raided, which goes right into the first album called “I Ain’t Dead Yet.” X’s verses were pretty good, and the beat was actually a different than how the beat for the intro was. I also chuckled when he mentioned a street name in one of the verses because I am very familiar with that area. The quality of his verses is still poor, but this is only the first song and while quality in the verses could have been a lot better, it’s still a good track. 4/5

The next track “Recognize” is the first feature guest artists on here. The beat and the production comes hard and X’s verses come hard, too. Lunasicc and Baby Reg don’t provide any verses, but rather hooks and bridges. They did a good job on this song. One of the best tracks on this album. 5/5

When you listen to “Body Count,” chances are you will start bobbing your head because the beat is bangin’. I like how the chorus uses a line from another X-Raided song, as well as a clip from a Brotha Lynch Hung song. Da Misses also sounded decent on this song, but I don’t really think she needed two verses when X only had one. I sometimes wonder what happened to her and whether she had any albums. She sure can spit. 5/5

Then came with another skit called “Collect Call.” I didn’t really see much point in it, except that it was just to show that he called from the penitentiary.

“Check Your Bitch” might sound like an offensive track on the surface, but if you listen to the lyrics, it seems like X told a story with his lyrics, about some of the shit he got into when he got involved with a woman and what he had to face. The beat was nice, too. It’s a decent track. 4/5

I won’t critique the next track as it’s another skit, but I will critique the next song as it does not take long to get to it, although the skit is precursor to the next song.

And now for something different. “Wanna Get High?” is not like the other songs as X did not rap on this. In fact, the only contribution he had to this song is that he WROTE it as Lunasicc actually SANG on this track. Luni doesn’t have a bad singing voice, actually. Not to mention the beat was sick, and the lyrics are nothing more than just about smoking  weed. It’s a good song to smoke to. Different than the others, but that is not a bad thing. 3.5/5

Another skit after this, and I never saw what the deal was. I guess it was “unxplainable.”

This next song happens to be one of the deepest tracks on this album. “Deuce-5 To Life” is about X’s issues with the law and how he ended up in the pen. The lyrics really told a story with this one. I also must add that I remember in the CD booklet for this song that the lyrics for this were written on one of the pages. Another one of the best songs on this album. 5/5

X-Raided came hard as always in “Unfukwitable.” I must add that I now know where the chorus for “Recognize” came from, and it was from this song. This song’s chorus got a little repetitive after a while. Da Misses also appeared on this song and had a decent verse. Good song, but also a little repetitive. 4/5

“Liquor, N***z and Triggaz” is another standout track on this album. X has some guests on here, Brotha Lynch Hung and Sicx. They only provided the chorus on here. All three rappers delivered on this track. 5/5

I must say that “Done Deal” is like “Wanna Get High?” in that X did not appear on the song at all. This is actually a solo song from Da Misses. The beat was actually pretty mellow and I liked the synthesized voice in the chorus. Not a bad song, but it’s far from great. 3/5

Okay, right here I am going to have to do the final three tracks as a whole. The two interludes actually go with the song. They are from the movie “Return of the Living Dead.” That was some creepy shit, and then there’s the song, “Witta Mask On.” X delivered some raw lyrics. My favorite part is when he mentioned some horror movies like “Friday The 13th” and “Hellraiser.” It sounded like some straight horror movie shit right here. And add to that, we had verses from Da Misses, Chopah and Lunasicc, and also a chorus from Killa Hoe, along with Da Misses. Out of the guest appearances, I would have to say that Lunasicc delivered some of the hardest lyrics in his verse. That is not to say that Da Misses and Chopah didn’t have bad rhymes, because they actually did a good job in their verses. One of the best songs on this album. 5/5

Despite the low quality in X-Raided’s verses songs on this album, he still delivered some raw and hardcore rhymes on this album. You have to hand it to him for still recording an album while still in the joint, although I must say that he recorded more albums while he was still in prison, but the quality was much better as he didn’t use the phone in the other ones. The guest appearances were also good. I have to say that this album was great in regards to effort made in spite of the weaknesses in the verses, and also overall quality. Check this album out. It still holds up to this day. 5/5

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Deuce-5 To Life
  2. Witta Mask On
  3. Recognize
  4. Liquor, N***z and Triggaz
  5. Check Your Bitch