Don't Be A Menace follows the tradition of soundtracks superior to films

by Jai Henry

Contributing Writer

All-star soundtrack albums have become a necessity for any movie set in the "hood," and the soundtrack to the new Wayans movie Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood is no different.

Island Black Music Crew, consisting of industry veteran Hiriam Hicks, "Buttnaked" Tim Dawg (one of the producers behind Jodeci), and Stanley Brown assembled the album.

The music is all new and, with the exception of a couple of fillers, is one of the best compilations in the last few years. Virtually all of the different types of R&B and rap are represented.

One glaring omission is any song from the South Central/Compton Los Angeles area. This is surprising considering that the setting of the movie looks very much like LA.

Unlike other soundtracks, Don't Be A Menace... is not a collection of B-sides, re-mixes and leftovers from the artists' original albums.

The album begins with "WinterWarz" a gem from the Wu-Tang Clan, the east coast rap group that includes Method Man and Raekwon the Chef. The Lost Boyz, a new rap group known for their single "Jeeps, Lex, Coups, Bimaz, and Benz," are next with "Renee," a funky anthem that samples the Super Mario Bros. video game.

Other notables include Jodeci's "Give it up," which flips into Craig Mack's "Flava in Yo Ear" beat. The Isley Brother's "Let's Lay Together" produced by R. Kelly, and The Luniz "We Got More," which features Shock G. of Digital Underground fame all appear.

On the down side, some of the songs aren't very creative. Listen to "Freak it out" by Doug E. Fresh and Luke and you will know what the Miami bass sound was like about 10 years ago.

Somebody needs to issue a warrant for the green-eyed bandit, Erick Sermon, after his track, "Maintain." The production is lagging and E-double does not deliver his trademark precise lyrics.

Suga-T, the young protg of E-40, proves that the sound of the Vallejo Gold Mines is definitely not for everyone with "Suga Daddy." After listening to the other songs, it becomes obvious that "Suga Daddy" would be a better fit on the new album by The Click, Game Related.

With artists finding compilations an appealing opportunity to reach new audiences, movie soundtracks have become big business.

Over the last five years especially, movie directors and producers have discovered that using popular music to complement movie scenes can enhance the authenticity.

New Jersey Drive, Reality Bites and Boomerang are all movies which benefited from platinum selling soundtracks, and Michelle Pfeiffer's most recent flop, Dangerous Minds, made a lot more money than it should have just because of the number one hit that a certain braided rapper contributed to it.

Don't Be A Menace... the soundtrack definitely has enough to keep a listeners attention. With the variety of artists who donated songs, it is well worth the money (unlike the movie).

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