The ’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.
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