Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

5 Best Black Movie Soundtracks of the 1990s

VIBE-Vixen-Films-600x450The ’90s was a heyday for a lot in the urban entertainment world. We largely consider it the golden age of hip-hop seeing as A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Dr. Dre, Outkast, etc all got their just due in the early to mid 90s. We had Biggie and ‘Pac. Rap didn’t start, but it took over the game like Kendrick Lamar in the BET Cypher.

Seriously, did you see that joint? You ever hear a verse so insane that you just start laughing and smiling because you have no idea what else to do? That was me watching that verse. Over and over again.

Well, what also caught its stride was the Black movie. From Boyz N The Hood to (possibly the worst ever) Straigh Outta Brooklyn to Juice to Love Jones, it seemed like every year we got some new movie that spoke to some part of the Black experience.

The joy of the 90s Black movie was that it seemed like as much money was spent on the soundtrack as the actual movie, with some cases of the soundtrack being BETTER than the movie that inspired it (High School High, anyone?). No expense was spared on these joints, and because of that, we got some iconic ass music that you automatically think of when thinking of certain movies. Because of science, when more than 2 things are gathered in my name, there will have to be a best. It is what it is, but luckily we’re far enough from heaven so now we all can freak out.

So without further ado and with absolute controversy in mind, I bring you the best 5 Black movie soundtracks of the 1990s. While 2-5 are pretty much about to be a tossup, as the patron saint of 1990s music, Joe, so eloquently said, somebody’s gotta be on top.

1. Juice

When Juice came out I was an 12 year old goofy kid living in Frankfurt, Germany. I don’t know who took me to see Juice but it was possibly a very bad decision. I definitely know I saw it in a theater. And I’m sure there were ta-tas. But what I remembered most and why I BEGGED my father to buy me the Juice soundtrack (turns out for naught) was the song “How I Could Just Kill A Man” that I heard playing in the background at the house party where Q and Bishop were chasing each other. That song MESMERIZED me. I HAD to have it. I was feenin’ for it. It wasn’t on the soundtrack for some odd reason, though “Shoot ‘Em Up” was. But this soundtrack DID have “Uptown Anthem” by Naughty By Nature. And “Know The Ledge” by Eric B. and Rakim. And “Is It Good To You” and “Nuff Respect” and “Don’t Be Afraid”. Too Short dropped “So You Wanna Be A Gangster” and it made me forget there was a song on the album entitled “What Could Be Better B*tch?”. Yep. Either way I’m callin’ it as the best. SEE I BE RIDIN’ THRU MY OLD HOOD, BUT I’M ON MY NEW SH*T.

2. New Jack City

“I Wanna Sex You Up”. “New Jack Hustler”. “There You Go Telling Me No Again.” And the song by alleged woman beater and dead beat dad extraordinaire Christopher Williams, “I’m Dreaming”. Yes you know them all. And even if you don’t, “I Wanna Sex You Up” is all you need to really know.

3. Love Jones

This was the movie soundtrack for the women. And it had “The Sweetest Thing” a song which has somehow become one of the most iconic movie songs. This album featured a bunch of artists that I loved and Trina Broussard put her foot all up and thru “Inside My Love”. Anybody seen her, by the way?? Brand New Heavies. Groove Theory. And the song that REALLY had us feelin’ some kind of way, “Hopeless” by Dionne Farris whose career definitely should have been bigger than it was. You got a love jones. You got a love jones. you got a love jones….oooooooo. Oh…and “In A Sentimental Mood”? Sure it ain’t original, but no idea’s original. Word to civilization.

4. Menace II Society

Those West coast folks know how to put together a soundtrack. Between Hi-Five’s “Unconditional Love” and MC Eiht’s GREAT “Streight up Menace” and the greatest song Smooth ever released “You’ve Been Played”. And if those songs don’t convince you, there’s always the eternal summer jam you forgot even existed called “Top Of The World” by Kenya Gruv. “Computer Love” also played in the movie but that’s just cheating.

5. Above The Rim

I could actually make a case that this is the best 90s Black movie soundtrack of all time by virtue of “Big Pimpin” and “Pour Out a Little Liquor”. But we’ve also got SWV with “Anything”. And the best song ever with the word “hoochie” in the title, “Hoochies Need Love Too” and possibly the BEST song on the soundtrack with “Old Time’s Sake” by Sweet Sable. You can literally run this joint the entire time through. The big deal about it was that it was an East Coast movie with an entirely West Coast soundtrack brought to you by the evil empire (Death Row) at the time. But man does this joint crack.  And of course…one of the best songs of the entire decade is on this joint with Nate Dogg and Warren G. in “Regulate”. Actually, I’m going to go ahead and say that this might easily be the best soundtrack of the 90s Black movies.

Aight…WHAT SAY YOU!?!? WHO THE F*CK WANT WHAT!!!!!!?!?!?!? I’m calling these as the best 5 of the decade. What you got? Boomerang? Waiting To Exhale? Poetic Justice?? Set It Off?

What’s the best 90s Black movie soundtrack?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. I LOVE THE 90S aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • ChaoticDiva

    I’m going to have to cosign this post. Honorable mentions: “Waiting to Exhale” (every woman has at least one anthem on that album), Bulworth (you know, “Ghetto Superstar” and when the Black Eyed Peas were making good music), and Sunset Park (“Keep on, keep keepin on….” you know you wanna SANG it).

    FYI, I have the Above the Rim soundtrack on Vinyl.

    • http://www.WordsDontDoItJustice.com/ Ruthless Wonder

      Thank you for the next 4 days that I will spend trying to find Above The Rim on Vinyl…

      • ChaoticDiva

        Lol. I happen to have a promo press of it. Don’t ask, but good luck!

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        The 90′s soundtracks I have on vinyl are:

        Deep Cover
        Set It Off
        Wild Wild West

        • Todd

          Wild Wild West? Did you fall and bump your head PA? Did you take it as a dare? Were you paid to accept said soundtrack?

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            Nope. That soundtrack is actually pretty solid. If you ignore the first two songs, it’s a damn good soundtrack. don’t believe me? Here’s the tracklisting:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Wild_West_(soundtrack)

        • Asiyah

          Wild Wild West?

          Wouldn’t expect that from you, PA. You’re full of surprises.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            Yeah, I get that a lot, LOL!

        • Demondog 06

          wow i forgot all about deep cover

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            The soundtrack’s not bad, despite most of the people on there were relative unknowns.

    • Geneva Girl

      Waiting to Exhale should be number one! That soundtrack was ubiquitous. I brought the tape (it was the ’90s) with me to listen on my Walkman to fly to Europe. I listened to it in the rental car and when I got to the hotel bar, guess what was playing. German people were wearing it out. That soundtrack was perfect. Thanks for mentioning it.

      • panamajackson

        It is a good soundtrack. I think that its only strong for the first half though, through “Not Gon’ Cry” which might be enough to make into the top 1. LOL. I PLAYED that song CLEAN out.

        • Shay-d-Lady

          the first half? comeon now the second half had that love will be waiting at home and how could you call me baby? Oh MY GAWD I is fixin to sang with SHUG RIght Nah!!!!

          • panamajackson

            No.

            • Shay-d-Lady

              you sir are a hater. and you are WRONG!!

        • Asiyah

          you forgot to include the Soul Food soundtrack.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      waiting to exhale soundrtrack pretty much launched keyshia coles, melanie fiona and jasmine sullivans careers of making who hurt you anthemsi m sure of this

      • Todd

        True. That album is the female equivalent of Jodeci’s “The Show, The Afterparty, The Hotel” in that we’ve been listening to various remakes of those same 2 albums for the past 20 years.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        Add K. Michelle to the list too…with her bitter a$$, LMAO!!!

      • Shamira

        and Drakes

    • panamajackson

      Sunset Park was also my sh*t. Actually was a pretty doggone good movie too.

    • Asiyah

      Waiting to Exhale’s soundtrack is amazing.

      • kiyone

        Agreed! Another stellar CD. They need to expand this list!

  • nillalatte

    The Body Guard. Whitney Houston. Hands down.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      and iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

      • LMNOP

        eeee iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

        • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

          willl alwaysss, love yewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

      ooh, i think you may have a point.

    • Oshun

      I just finally got to watch that movie this summer, oh my goodness. Why did she EVER EVER EVER marry bobby brown? The chemistry she had with her co-star was off the chain. They should have gotten married.

      • Rachmo

        Good call

    • panamajackson

      The Whitney songs were strong of course. The rest of that sh*t was ducksauce. And Kenny G had a few songs. Anything involving Kenny G loses off GP.

      • Asiyah

        LOL that’s messed up!

      • Medium Meech

        Except that Audi(maybe) commercial where the prison guard on that “hit ‘em with the Kenny G”. That commercial stay winning.

    • Asiyah

      I HAVE NOTHING! NOTHING! NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Rachmo

        DOONNN’TT MAKE ME….CLOOOOOOOSE ONE MORE DOOOOOR!

  • TheOtherJerome

    Sorry Panama, “The Show” bumps New Jack City out the top 10. How could you sleep on “How High” by red and Meth, “My Block” by Pac and the “Me and My B!tch” remix performed live by B.I.G.

    The “New Jack City” soundtrack was like the “New Jersey Drive” soundtrack: Some joints were killer, some were so-so. Top five the whole album has to be fire.

    * Most slept on soundtrack: Soul In The Hole

    • socialchronic

      FORGOT ABOUT THE SHOW!!

      • kidvideo

        also forgot about that Roc A fella/ Hard Knock Life tour documentary, BACKSTAGE sdtk(Jay Z/Mya “Best of Me” remix)

    • http://www.WordsDontDoItJustice.com/ Ruthless Wonder

      Does The Show count though? I mean it is a documentary about Hip Hop.

      • kidvideo

        This also goes for Rhyme and Reason.

        • TheOtherJerome

          Dag, forgot about that one too!

        • panamajackson

          Yeah. Cuz I’d argue that Rhyme and Reason had a better soundtrack than The Show

      • TheOtherJerome

        Technically it WAS a soundtrack

        • http://www.WordsDontDoItJustice.com/ Ruthless Wonder

          Yeah but Beef has a soundtrack. Should we do a best southern 5 soundtracks and try and talk I’m Bout It vs. I got the hook up?

          • B. Brown

            Between those two, I’m taking “I’m Bout It”.

            • kidvideo

              As a southern, i’m embarrassed I didn’t mention “Im Bout It”.

              • miss t-lee

                you and me both. Knowing dayum well I killed that,

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      how high had some bangers, no miley, but that was 2001

      • panamajackson

        Think he means the song “how high” which was on The Show soundtrack.

    • panamajackson

      Gon’ have to disagree with you about The Show. Yes some joints crack, those you mentioned and of course Onyx “LIve!!” which…Onyx is SO slept on…but that joint had like 100 songs on it and only like 5 of them TRULY rock.

  • mscharming88

    I have to say that even though Love Jones is #1 for me, I also enjoy the soundtrack to Soul Food (although I can’t make myself listen to “A Song for Mama,” hits too close to home for me).

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      a song for mama sends me all the way to my feelings now…also has one of my favorite dru hill tracks

      • mscharming88

        *Does the Dru Hill hop*

  • socialchronic

    yeeeeaaaaahhh that Above The Rim soundtrack was THEE best soundtrack of the 90′s everybody and i mean EVERYBODY ERRRYWHERE was talking about and bumping that joint.

    But that NewJackCity didn’t play either though…

    • Todd

      So New Jack City wasn’t banging outside of New York…WHAT?! (Shoutout to whoever gets the reference.)

  • Cali

    AGREED on New Jack City… I’d add Dead Presidents as a nice, compartmentalized collection of old sh*t everyone should already have…

    • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

      Add in Crooklyn for some throwback jams too. (and Crooklyn Dodgers)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2pzmty3LVs

    • Todd

      Word. Did you see the video for Walk On By they did for the sountrack? I wish I would have did something like that.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0M58TvgrXw

    • http://esotericexistentialist.blogspot.com/ MPM

      I was going to mention both Crooklyn and Dead Presidents as two great soundtracks with some classics on them.

  • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

    Yeeeaaah and you don’t stop- cause it’s 1 8 7 on an undercover cop…

    Deep Cover for this single alone.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      pun and joes deep cover is beter than the original, fight me

      • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

        Pun’s opener was everything on that joint! You just closed the case with that banger

  • Mimiluv

    I read this list and went to youtube to listen to sweet sables ole time sake! Why oh why don’t they make good music anymore? That was a jam! Good list.

    • panamajackson

      That song is so good. It’s perfect BBQ music, its perfect depressing music, just makes you want to go back to when we used to chill outside…

  • Cali

    Jason’s Lyric!

    • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

      high five chest bump fist pump!!!

  • DG

    Good list, folk. I’d agree with most of these. My additions would be Purple Rain (just iconic) and School Daze…that Stevie Wonder track that dude sings for the Homecoming pageant?? The Morehouse choir?? And, of course, there was this….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsWnrkQl7yI

    • DG

      Okay, so after further review, I’ve discovered that School Daze came out in 1988….still goes hard, tho. Shout out to Mission College…

      • DG

        Sh*t, Purple Rain was ’84…I’m going to bed.

        • kidvideo

          Yeah…before you start mentioning Superfly and Shaft sdtk’s…lol

          • miss t-lee

            CTFU!!!!

        • panamajackson

          I was gon’ let you cook.

          • DG

            I usually catch myself, but it was late. I even gave your alma mater a shout, so there you go.

    • Todd

      The album that put go-go on all across America for the first…and only time. Thank goodness. LOL