1994 was pretty tough on my collection; I really didn’t have much to show for the year. In fact, it was even harder for me to scour the internet in search of any Hip Hop oriented soundtracks due to the year’s inactivity. For ’94 I did have A Low Down Dirty Shame’s soundtrack which I bought especially for the Casual song “Later On”.
First things, first though. A Low Down Dirty Shame was Keenan Ivory Wayans’ action comedy follow up to the smash “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!”"…. Shame” also starred Jada Pinkett, who had a busy year also starring in the romantic film “Jason’s Lyric”. In “Shame”, Keenan plays, Shame, a former police officer turned private eye who along with mouthy sidekick Peaches played by Jada are out to protect a seductress’ 20 million dollars in stolen drug money. Keenan in that Wayans fashion adds a nice amount of humor but it’s Jada in this one who steals the show. Peaches is so cute and at the same time a gruff, street intelligent, and strong woman that you got her back throughout. “Shame” is a pretty solid film with plenty of humor and a fair amount of action as well.
Casual’s “Later On” is the best track on the Low Down Soundtrack. Casual has one of the smoothest most self assured styles in the game and if this track doesn’t prove it, nothing will. The beat on this one is real kicked back, like straight up prop your feet up on Rae’s glass table and relax. Casual knows he’s bad too, opening with “I wake up in the morning feeling fine and refreshed; I look into the mirror to see whose rhyming the best, aaaaaahh!!!! There he is looking right back at me”. The Souls of Mischief Crew keeps reppin’ dropping another cut with “Get the Girl, Grab the Money, and Run”. This track is essential for the jazz lounge production, and you can never be disappointed with the Souls on the mic. UGK’s “Front Back and Side to Side” is nothing less than a classic with a hook that has been sampled throughout the Hip Hop down in the South and especially out here in the West. Once again Pimp C shines on this one and who can forget Bun B who remains consistent throughout, not only this classic, but Hip Hop in general. On the R&B tip, Zhane (pronounced Jah Nay) drops the theme song for the film with “Shame” a funky number, that’s lets the ladies update a soul classic.
“Tales From the Hood” was an attempt to provide some horror to the, uhhhhh, hood. The film was filled with a bunch of different stories as in the vain of “Tales From the Crypt”. Really, this movie is hilarious. They do try to provide some thought provoking ideas and images i.e. the little slave dolls, the domestic violence case, and of course a glimpse into the pain gangsters caused to the world around them. However, I still can’t help laughing through most of the movie, maybe it has to do with David Allan Grier whipping everyone’s ass in the piece entitled Monster. If you’ve seen David in stand up this is just so unbelievable, and even after he’s crumbled down to little less than a pile of flesh and bone, he’s still popping shit. The little slave dolls chewing up the white dude are pure jokes. Every time I see it I can’t help but think about the “Penny” Hardaway dolls that used to rep the Magic back in the day. Best part of the whole film, when the dirty cop goes to piss on Moorehouse’s grave (watch the movie), a hand bursts through the ground and grabs his stick, pulling him into the grave.
“Tales From the Hood” the OST is a strictly Hip Hop adventure with the likes of Spice 1, MC Eiht, and plenty of Wu, both as a group and solo. Considering it’s a dark film, you gotta have the dark tracks so Gravediggaz’ “From the Darkside” is a welcome and head banging addition. Unfortunately RZA’s not on the boards with this one and the beat kind of falls by the wayside. The same thing for Wu Tang’s addition “Let Me At Them” which is produced by Inspectah Deck. RZA will always be one of the illest producers to me, and it’s so noticeable when he’s not on the decks. The minimalist production on “Ol’ Dirty’s Back” definitely lets Dirty shine and the call out to the West-coast acts is pretty ill. One of the nicest cuts on the soundtrack is Havoc and Prodeje’s “The Hood Got Me Feeling the Pain” but surprisingly I’m not to sure whatever happened to the group beyond this single. Of course, something’s going on considering they have the same names as another, more famous duo and this damn sure led to a lot of confusion with my first thoughts. The song is straight up West-coast and the lyrics are really thought provoking. Along with some nice female vocals blessing the track, I just gotta love it. Besides a few of the Eastcoast’s tracks this is a fiery soundtrack, MC Eiht, Scarface, and Domino hold it down real thorough on this one.
The West-coast had put its immediate stamp on Hollywood with several movies including Boyz In the Hood, South Central, and Menace II Society. It was time for the coast to step up and that’s where New Jersey Drive stepped up to make its mark. Unfortunately this movie is sooooooo, long. That’s not to detract from the great moments this movie is filled with, but it’s the truth; this movie should have been edited down by at least 20 minutes. New Jersey Drive takes place in Newark and is still, definitely a favorite due to the fact that’s where my families from. The film takes a look at the thriving car theft situation that at the time put the city on the map in a negative way. When it comes down to it the movie isn’t too different from anything before it, but they do steal a cop car. Most memorable moment for me, is after the round up, Jason the narrator and main character is asked what his name is, he says “Charles, Charles Manson”. It may not be funny in print but seeing someone start writing a goof name only to think about it and suddenly get it is hilarious.
New Jersey Drive’s soundtrack collects acts from across the country. Redman’s on here to rep Brick City, the film’s setting, but its our other big time Newark native Queen Latifah who reps the city the best. “Jersey” is a heavy and passionate ode to the Queen’s city surprisingly to me, produced by the Queen herself. This is definitely one of those tracks that solidifies the Queen not as an actress or a Cover Girl, but as a dope emcee and musician. The beat is so hypnotic on this track that it’s sure to make any ’95 play-list you got going if its lacking the cut. Considering New Jersey Drive is about cars, you gotta have a track with the theme in mind and Outkast come with “Benz or Beamer” which fills that detail to the brim. Outkast is literally perfect on this one and Andre straight rips every verse. Heavy D rhymes over some damn good Easy Mo Bee work and the “Boys” are dropped for some female vocals that add the perfect amount of spice to the jazzy beat. I have to mention Total and Biggie’s work “Can’t You See” which sparked the ladies’ career. This is an all time favorite of mine and I still catch glimpses of the video when I close my eyes and listen. “New Jersey Drive” may not be a movie that makes it beyond hood love, but the soundtrack is a beast with almost every single working to its favor….-Spaise