Soundtrack Albums

Movie Soundtrack Review – The Fast and The Furious

Year of Release: 2001

Record Label: Murder Inc Records/Def Jam Recordings/Universal Music Group

It is amazing how far the Fast & Furious franchise has gone as it has existed for nearly two decades. Nobody I know, including myself, would have ever thought that it would have gotten to eight films as of this year. Not to mention that it had evolved from a story that was grounded in reality, with a few over-the-top elements, to a big movie franchise with even more over-the-top elements.

Each film had a soundtrack album to go with it. I will talk about the one that started it all, the soundtrack to The Fast and The Furious.

The one that I have always wondered about this album is why Ja Rule was featured on the cover. He didn’t have that big of a role in the film, despite having been promoted in the trailers way back in the day. It almost seemed like his presence in the film was made to plug the soundtrack. I will also point out that only a few songs from this compilation were actually in the film itself. I still remember actually seeing a trailer on TV back in 2001 that even promoted the soundtrack artists. It should also be noted that on Amazon back in those days, many consumers rated this so low because they were expecting a bunch of techno and house music that was in the movie. First off, they should have read the back cover, and second, they also should have looked at the list of artists on the front cover. Of course being the hip-hop head that I am, I was right at home with this album.

I had theorized that one reason that Ja Rule’s face was on the cover of this album was because he actually appeared in five songs on this album. But make no mistake about this, a few of those songs were previously released, but the majority of those songs actually appeared in the film. If you remember seeing the trailers or the TV spots from back in the day (You can always watch them on YouTube if not), one song that was used in the promotion was “Furious” from Ja Rule, Vita, and 0-1. Actually, the song was originally called “Fuck You” on the Rule 3:36 album, but to be fair, the beat actually gets you revved up and goes with the tone of the film itself, while Vita provided a good portion for the chorus and 0-1 actually did a good job in his verse. One thing that I must note is that a clean version of this exists with some lyrics changed a bit. I can’t find a video to show it, but it is heard in the credits of the film and I believe that the video was included as an extra on the DVD for the film.

The rest of the songs from Ja had on this album were decent. I liked the “Good Life Remix” with Faith Evans, along with Caddillac Tah and Vita. “Life Ain’t a Game” had a good beat from Damizza. I also kind liked the collaboration with Tank on “Race Against Time, Part 2.” It seemed that it was more Tank’s song here as he sang more verses whereas Ja only provided one verse. Of course, it’s not unheard of as many years later the roles switched between the two parts of “Love The Way You Lie” from Eminem and Rihanna as the first one appeared on Em’s album and the second one appeared on Rihanna’s album. However, I often wondered why the remix of “Put It on Me” appeared on here. My only guess is that because it got more radio airplay compared to the album version from Rule 3:36 and this version probably needed to get released on an album rather than just as a single. I can’t complain because I have always liked this version.

Regarding whether the rest of the Inc had a part in this album, there were only a few songs from some artists from that label as the rest were from people who weren’t on the label. One of my other favorite songs was “Pov City Anthem” from Caddillac Tah. I actually remembered seeing the video on TV back in the day and thinking it was a good song. It makes me wonder why for many years I skipped “The Prayer” from Black Child as that one was actually a good track on this album. Meanwhile, regarding other songs from Murder Inc members, the other two was a hit and miss. The hit would probably Ashanti’s “When a Man Does Wrong.” While it was out of place for an album like this and I really don’t remember hearing it in the film (Along with other tracks on here), it is still worth a listen. However, I can’t really say much about Vita and Ashanti’s cover of the Madonna song, “Justify My Love.” To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know that there was a video for this song until now.

I can see that the video was similar to the video of the original. I can give credit where it’s due, but it is still kind of odd to listen to.

As for the rest of the album, a lot of them were decent, if good, but in a lot of ways I questioned why they were put in. Now I liked “Hustlin” from Fat Joe and Armageddon, as well as “Suicide” from Scarface, but I saw no reason for “Freestyle” from Boo & Gotti. I will listen to it, but it just seems out of place like it could have been put on a mixtape, with the uses of the beats from two Dr. Dre songs, “The Watcher” and “Fuck You.” Also, the inclusion of the rap version of “Rollin'” from Limp Bizkit was probably added in to go with the fact that it was a hip-hop compilation. A few seconds of the original version were heard in the film, but I guess Def Jam needed the hip-hop song to fit on here. I can’t complain as I was never a big fan of Limp Bizkit, not even when they were popular when I was in junior high (Although there are a FEW songs that I like of theirs).

It may seem that what was written in the previous paragraph that I didn’t think much of this album. Not the case. In fact, I actually like this album, but in hindsight, I can kind of agree with some people when they complained about how a lot of songs on here weren’t in the movie. As a hip-hop fan, this album is still a good one in my eyes, but at the same time it just made me wonder if Irv Gotti had a lot of creative control over this album and just included some other songs just because. I guess that explains why Universal and Island Records put out “More Music from The Fast and The Furious” much later on, which included some of the techno songs, but even I looked online and much of the songs on there weren’t in the movie, either. Not to mention that a lot of complaints surrounding that album had to do with it being copyright-protected and how it couldn’t be played on certain players. In many ways I am glad that I didn’t actually buy the CD of that. Regarding this album, one song that would have been great to be included was “Say Ah” from Shawnna, but it wasn’t. It’s such a shame because I liked what I heard. I can understand why “Area Codes” wasn’t in it as that was used for the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack, which came out that same year.

Overall, I recommend this album mainly if you are just looking for a decent rap compilation, not a soundtrack to the film itself.

3.5/5

NEXT UP: 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Furious
  2. Pov City Anthem
  3. The Prayer
  4. Hustlin’
  5. Good Life Remix
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Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – How High

Year of Release: 2001

Film Studio: Universal Pictures/Jersey Films/Native Pictures

When I wrote my review of The Wash, at the end of it I had noted about a much funnier movie that came out a month after that one, theatrically, I mean, I actually meant that it was indeed a funnier movie. The funny thing about these two movies is that they came out around the same time, with The Wash having come to theaters in November of 2001, while How High, the movie that this review is about, was released in theaters in December of that same year. So basically they both came out at roughly the end of that year.

A little personal history note, I remember having gone to see How High in theaters with my uncle. I was 15 at the time and being that I was already a big hip-hop head, I figured why not see this considering how I thought the movie looked funny and that I wanted to see Method Man and Redman on the big screen. I also remember being on my winter break at the time, not to mention it was also a few days before Christmas when I saw it.

One thing that will be said is that this film was a riot all the way through, in fact, in comparison to The Wash, it was not only funnier, but it also has a much different tone, which actually worked in this film.

There really isn’t much of a story in this film. It’s pretty basic, really. The story is about Silas (Method Man), a marijuana grower, and Jamal, a stoner, getting into Harvard and changing the Ivy League institution around and trying to get an education, but odds are against them in uptight Dean Cain (I wonder if that was intentional by the writers), played by Obba Babatunde. How they got there was through a spiritual source, if you know what I mean. Silas’s friend, Ivory died earlier on in the film, but because Silas had put his ashes into the soil of a cannabis plant, once he and Jamal smoked the Ivory weed, his ghost appears and helps them get through school. Of course, there is a romantic subplot as Silas becomes enamored with Lauren, played by Lark Voorhies (aka Lisa from Saved By The Bell), who is the girlfriend of secondary antagonist, Bart (Chris Elwood), the typical rich guy who looks down on Silas and Jamal.

Apart from the plot summary, this film is a straight-up stoner comedy that is similar to old Cheech & Chong films, as well as another stoner comedy cult favorite, Half-Baked. The title of the film is also named after the hit song of the same name from the two lead actors. Also, the tone of the film felt like a lowbrow comedy with very little to no ounce of seriousness in it. One part in the film that in another film would be a little more serious didn’t even take out anything humorous.

Also, unlike The Wash, Method Man and Redman had a lot more comedic chemistry than Dre and Snoop did. The thing about this film is that Meth seemed like the closest to being the straight man of the duo while Redman was more of the comedic sidekick. However, Meth had shown some comedic talent in some scenes. Even a few other supporting characters were also funny, like the character of Tuan. He had some excellent comedic timing in his lines. Also, Spalding Gray (RIP) had a hilarious scene as the Black History professor. Check out this scene below:

Also, being that this is a stoner movie, a lot of the references to weed were clever. While there were scenes of the two lead characters smoking and passing blunts and bongs, one of the weed references that was clever was the name of the exam that is needed to get into a good school. It was called “Testing for Higher Credentials.” Put the three first letters of those words together. Also, I noticed one character that wore a hoodie that said “Ivy League” on it and it had a cannabis leaf on it. I would wear a hoodie like that.

I also have to say that Lark Voorhies did a good job in her role as the love interest for Method Man’s character. I don’t think I have seen her in too many films that were given theatrical releases, yet this was one of them. The only other one I can think of is How To Be A Player, but she didn’t have a lot of screen-time in that film. It is a shame of what she has been through over the years and it doesn’t help that people will always see her as Lisa from Saved By The Bell. Plus, she did provide some eye candy in the film. In fact there were a lot of attractive women in this film, including the ever-so-lovely Essence Atkins.

Also, there was a brief cameo from Cypress Hill, who also performed in this film.

On the DVD of this film, there is an audio commentary track from both Method Man and Redman. It was funny to hear these two talk about the film and about certain scenes. Also, it seemed like Method Man was stoned at the start of the commentary. Maybe he actually was. It sure seemed like it. However, as time progressed, the duo really touched on a lot of things about the film. One of the parts that stood out was when Meth talked about Lark Voorhies’s performance, like how she made him think that she actually liked him. Also, there was a part where Meth talked about how he admits that he and Redman aren’t that great of actors but they did what they could in the film, given what they worked with.

How High is definitely a good example of a silly stoner movie done right. Now I am not surprised that this was given some negative reviews at the time of its release. It is really not a movie for everyone. This movie is basically on the same level as Half-Baked in that it had similar humor, not just the fact that there was a lot pot-smoking in the movie. Both films had a lot of crazy shit going on. I know I had mentioned The Wash at the start of this review, but when comparing those two films, How High wins this one. Now I don’t mind The Wash, even though I do believe it was not a good film, this film got a lot more laughs out of me. Both Meth and Redman had a lot of chemistry on-screen and there were plenty of funny moments even from some of the supporting cast, including one of the antagonists of the film. I also forgot to mention that Anna Maria Horsford was in this film as Jamal’s mother, which is funny considering how a few years after she played Meth’s mother on Method & Red (Note to self: Must get back to writing Method & Red episode reviews). Overall, in a nutshell, this was a hilarious movie.

Recommended, especially to hip-hop fans and those who also like to toke.

NEXT UP: The soundtracks to The Wash and How High, but I also have some other ideas in mind.

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A List of Some Great Rap Love Songs

Hello, people. Here is a list of some 10 rap songs about love. They are in no real order.

P. Diddy feat. Usher and Loon – I Need A Girl Part 1

I never really thought that P. Diddy was a great rapper, but you can’t deny that this song was hot back in the day. Plus, Usher did a great job on the chorus.

P. Diddy feat. Mario Winans and Loon – I Need A Girl Part 2

Like the first one, this song was also hot. I liked the beat used for it and Mario Winans did a good job on the hook.

Method Man & Mary J. Blige – I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By (Puff Daddy Mix)

There are actually three versions. There was the original from the album, Tical. Also the Razor Sharp Mix and then of course this version. Out of those three, I prefer this version.

LL Cool J – I Need Love

One of the original hip-hop love songs and it still holds up to this day.

LL Cool J and Boyz II Men – Hey Lover

Another one from LL and he had Boyz II Men to provide the chorus. It is still a classic love jam.

Slick Rick – Teenage Love

A great song from Rick The Ruler himself.

Lost Boyz – Renee

I have always liked this song. Mr. Cheeks rapped about his late girlfriend. The beat really goes with the tragic feel of this song.

The Notorious B.I.G. – One More Chance (Remix)

I prefer this version over the original version.

Common feat. Mary J. Blige – Come Close

Ja Rule feat. Vita and Lil’ Mo – Put It On Me (The Radio version)

I am aware of the version on Rule 3:36 without Lil’ Mo, but I prefer this one because her vocals made the song better in my opinion.

Anyway, that is it for my list. I know that there are a lot of rap songs about love out there, but these are the ones that I like the most.

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Review: Method & Red Episode 4 – One Tree Hill

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Original Air Date: July 7, 2004

I will say that I have been putting off continuing my series of Method & Red episode reviews, but I will also point out that I still planned to finish them. I took the month of October off to do other pieces on other things and now we are more than halfway through November, it is time to continue this. I will also point out that I have plans for December as I will do a review on the Christmas on Death Row album, along with High Fo’ Xmas from West Coast Bad Boyz, which is a No Limit album. At the moment, I can’t think of other things that are Christmas-related that I might do, but I will do those for sure.

Now onto the review of this episode.

The first thing that I must point out is that yes, this episode is entitled One Tree Hill, and it shared the name of a relatively popular drama series that was on around the time this episode aired. I wonder if the people at the WB got on the people at Fox for the use of the name. Anyway, this episode’s plot has to do with Red and Meth becoming presidents of the Neighborhood Homeowner’s Association and then they get mad with power that they forget about other things. The episode’s title is derived from the fact that Meth’s mother, Dorothea, has a tree in their yard that she had been planting for years and it meant a lot to her.

Regarding the episode’s quality, while it was still a bit over the top in some areas, it actually conveyed a decent message in the end. The one thing that it really did not need is to repeat a gag twice, however. It got a chuckle out of me the first time, but when it was done the second time it wasn’t as funny. It also felt different than the previous episodes considering how Meth and Red were a lot more antagonistic to Nancy in this episode as they had more of the upper hand on her than before. I get that despite the two being presented as protagonists that they aren’t exactly “good guys,” but in this episode they looked more like assholes than before. However, it might be the point as the two got mad with power and things got worse for them later.

Until I watched this episode I had forgotten about this one. I mostly remember when Nancy told Method Man and Redman about what led to their inevitable fall from grace at the end of the episode. I can’t complain too much about the writing as it was a little different than what had been seen so far. I just didn’t like how Red and Meth were portrayed for the most part in the episode, but like I also said, it conveyed an average message about how power can get the better of someone and that they tend to forget about other things that are more important. It might be least favorite episode yet, but I didn’t hate it as I was still entertained.

Next up, Episode 5. Stay tuned.

Preview and editorial: Method and Red TV series

Review: Method & Red Episode 1 – Pilot

Review: Method & Red Episode 2 – The Article

Review: Method & Red Episode 3 – Well Well Well

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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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Review: Method & Red Episode 2 – The Article

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Original Air Date: June 24, 2004

It has been a bit since I have last updated this, but I promised myself to continue my series of Method & Red episode reviews.

As I had noted in my preview post, the episode that I am about to cover is the top one that I remember over all the others. Although I have some recollection over some others, this one reigns supreme over everything else. Let’s cut right to the chase now.

The episode’s plot in a nutshell is that Method Man and Redman are about to have a meeting with a journalist to see if they are still considered “hood,” while Skyler has a birthday coming up with the Super Squad 4, a parody of Power Rangers, entertaining and wants to the two men to appear. However, the reporter is meeting with them on the same day as the party and the two rappers want to maintain their street image because the reporter had written a piece on 50 Cent and how he lived with his mom.

Of course, Method and Red fake being sick so that they can retain their reputation and not have to appear, only for Skyler to go by and see that they weren’t sick. It’s not that new of plot point as I had seen that in many different sitcoms before.

In fact a lot of elements in this episode are not that new, like the bit with Meth’s mom posing as the maid so keep up his reputation in the journalist’s presence. But what made this episode memorable for me is the finale. It was inevitable that Method and Red would appear at the birthday party, but what cracked me up is how they got into it with the Super Squad 4, who decided to fight the two which resulted in a riot at the party. No, it was not that kind of riot. It made the party more interesting for the guests. Did I mention how there was character named Downtown Clowny Brown in this episode? Well, there was, but he had only made a couple of appearances, one of which was a flashback to show who he was, but by the time he had appeared, he was almost forgotten about. It was sort of funny to see a clown from the hood, though.

One of my primary complaints about the episode was that Method Man and Redman continued to address the journalist by his full name, Keith Debeetham. On the other hand, his last name was like nothing I have ever heard before, so I give that a pass. Plus it’s rather fun to say especially with the addition of his first name.

This episode is still rather funny in some areas in a rather cheesy way. The finale is the funniest sequence by far in this episode. So this remains to be one of my favorite episodes of the entire series as a whole.

I will try to get to the third episode soon. Peace!

Preview and editorial: Method and Red TV series

Review: Method & Red Episode 1 – Pilot

Review: Method & Red Episode 3 – Well Well Well

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Review: Method & Red Episode 1 – Pilot

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Original Air Date: June 16, 2004

As I had stated on my preview piece on this show, which was also a bit of an editorial, I had planned on reviewing episodes of this sitcom. I was lucky to see that I was able to find some episodes online because no DVD exists for this. I don’t need to get into anything about the show because I had already covered that in my preview story. Let’s just get to the episode now.

So the episode starts off with Nancy, the realtor and antagonist of the show, showing a family about a house she is trying to sell. The family is all ready and willing to buy the house, until a lot of cars pull up to a house in the neighborhood for a party, and who would happen to host that party? Why Method Man and Redman, of course! It was enough to drive the family away and Nancy out of a sale.

The whole plot of the episode is that Nancy wants them evicted, and when Method Man and Redman catch wind of that, they want to be accepted in the neighborhood by catering to fellow neighbors. Some of the things that I had noticed is that it plays the cliche stereotype that because they live in a predominantly white neighborhood, they intimidate the neighbors despite them trying to get on their good graces. However, they do reach out to a few who are willing to give them a chance. Redman meets a rather odd individual who needed help with “getting his dad out of the bathtub,” while Meth reaches out to Bill and Skyler, Nancy’s husband and son, respectively. Unlike Nancy, Bill and Skyler take to Meth a lot better and are a lot more accepting of he and Redman living in the neighborhood, especially with Skyler being a fan of the two rappers.

Although I pointed out how the laugh track was an awkward to the show, I have noticed how goofy this show was in hindsight. I mean it’s no different than their movie, “How High,” in terms of tone, although it is less vulgar than that movie. I chuckled here and there with the over-the-top elements of how rich people live, with a TV monitor in various parts of the house like in a refrigerator and in a kitchen drawer.

However, some of the stereotypical humor was a bit much, like how some white people initially thought that Method Man was going to assault them when he wanted to deliver a fruitcake in order to reach out to them. I am not sure if it was a jab at class issues or racial issues, because in one scene Meth tried reaching out to black people in the neighborhood. Aside from that, I just thought it could be much worse.

Looking back on this episode, it really wasn’t terrible. Some parts got a chuckle out of me and I have seen more unfunny stuff than this. Was it good? No, but it certainly was not bad, either.

Stay tuned for my piece on episode 2, which I will do soon.

Preview and editorial: Method and Red TV series

Review: Method & Red Episode 2 – The Article

Review: Method & Red Episode 3 – Well Well Well

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