What’s not to love with hip hop and movies. Both tell stories, both are a form of expression and in some ways some albums have been crafted to feel like movies. Movies and hip hop have a connection that goes beyond art. They have the power to change the way people think and perceive their surroundings. This is why hip hop works well with the movies.
Throughout the years as movies have kept developing, so have their soundtracks. The soundtrack makes the movie worth watching sometimes, and some movies have used hip hop to paint the backdrop or setting of the stories. In this list, we have compiled some of the best examples of hip-hop soundtracks in great movies. We highly recommend you watch these movies if you have not already. So sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy this list of 10 famous hip hop movie soundtracks.
1) Boyz N The Hood
Boyz in the Hood is a great movie released in 1991 through Warner Bros records was the soundtrack for the same movie and it is an iconic movie soundtrack just like the movie. Boyz n the Hood follows the story of Doughboy, Tre Styles, and Ricky played by ice cube cuba gooding junior and Morris chestnut respectively. It follows their lives in their neighborhood and dealing with the problems of being in the black neighborhood in West Coast America. The movie has an amazing plot and is definitely worth watching repeatedly, which has made it a classic over the years.
It is a classic hood movie which also scored high on the critics rating, giving it an average score of 8.3 out of 10 at Rotten Tomatoes. The movie even bagged and MTV movie award best new film maker in john singleton. Along with that it has been nominated for various other awards.
It spawned a lot of hits in its original soundtrack including “How to Survive in South Central” by Ice Cube, “Just Ask Me To” by Tevin Campbell (which claimed #88 on the billboard charts that year), and even had a great lineup of songs that we’re featured exclusively in the movie. Some of these tracks were “Sucker MC’S” by RUN DMC. The soundtrack has accompanied the movie extremely well. With features from Main Source, Yo Yo, 2 live crew, too short, and Quincy Jones to name a few, you just can’t go wrong with this one. All the movie and hip hop enthusiasts go check this movie out if you haven’t already. Sit back and enjoy the show.
2) Cradle 2 The Grave
Cradle 2 the grave is Jet Li/DMX starrer action flick. Though the movie was not that well received by the people, it did spread from country to country and gained pockets of success here and there.
Fascinating is that the soundtrack movie and mo recognition than the movie itself. It featured the evergreen classic by dMX – “X Gon Give It To Ya”. This uptempo, max hyped out, high energy song still remains a big hit to this day. It was most recently used for the Ryan Reynolds movie “Deadpool” by Marvel studios.
Besides that, the star studded lineup of song in the soundtrack featured “Go To Sleep” by Eminem, Obie Trice and DMX. “Follow Me Gangster” (G-Unit), “Stompdashitoutu” (M.O.P.), and “I’m Serious” (Clipse) were also some instant hits off the soundtrack. All in all, if you aren’t into inept filmmaking, then dig in to the all-star soundtrack lineup and enjoy!
In 1995 director F Gary Gray debuted with Ice Cube and Chris Tucker starrer – Friday. Friday is a stoner comedy film that has received mass recognition and become a classic for any and all viewers. Friday, as the name suggests, covers the misadventures happening on a typical Friday, of Craig Jones (Ice Cube) and his best friend Smokey (Chris Tucker).
This movie is a laugh riot! A comedy classic which is written by none other than Ice Cube himself. To add to the success of this movie best of its soundtrack. The soundtrack also released in 1995 and reached number one on the Billboard 200. Not only that, it also held its position there for the next two weeks that followed. The most noticeable success the soundtrack offered, that of Dr. Dre’s hit single “Keep Their Heads Ringing”. That song made it to number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 & it reached number 1 on the hot rap tracks.
Some other great songs from the soundtrack were from artists like Ice Cube, Scarface, Cypress Hill, Mack 10, 2 Live Crew and so on. The title track “Friday” by Ice Cube was another big hit. Cypress Hill added to the stoney vibes with “Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up”. Watch the movie and listen to the soundtrack, because both of them are guaranteed to stay on repeat in your list.
Music video director Hype Williams debuted is film directing with a movie named “Belly”. At the forefront of delhi are the two emcees Nas & DMX. Critics have claimed this movie to contain some of the most accurate representations of the gangster life in New York city. Although the movie itself achieved fairly less, it made up in what its soundtrack had to offer.
Def Jam released the soundtrack to Belly in 1998. The soundtrack reached number five on the Billboard 200 on release. And spawned the infamous posse cut “Grand Finale” by rappers DMX, Method Man, Nas, and Ja Rule.
It also featured hits from the Wu Tang Clan called “Windpipe” and the Roc-A-Fella records team with the song called “Crew Love”.
5) Get Rich Or Die Trying
In 2005 50 Cent released his own ‘biopic’ “Get Rich Or Die Tryin”. The film was the same name as 50 Cent’s debut album. This movie is still based on the rags to riches stories that we observe in various other movies, but it sure shows the grit in 50 Cent as he moulds himself into Hip-Hop icon from his street persona.
InterScope records released the soundtrack to the movie in 2005. It features some of the best tracks that 50 Cent has ever written and performed. Hits on hits was the game plan here. With singles like “Hustlers Ambition”, “Window Shopper”, “Best Friend”, Have A Party”, and “I’ll whip ya head boy”. 50 Cent climbed the charts further and further with the success of both, the movie and it’s soundtrack. It truly is an inspiring story
6) Django Unchained
Django Unchained is probably, arguably the best Quentin Tarantino movie of all time. Everything from the acting, to the plot, to even the soundtrack has Quentin Tarantino’s signature style. Tarantino is known for using sounds and special sound effects in his scenes to enhance the viewing experience of his movies. Django Unchained was no exception to that rule. It featured some of the best tracks of that year and gave us a full glimpse of what Quentin Tarantino was capable of as a director too. There was even a Frank Ocean track that was ready for the soundtrack but it was later cancelled because Tarantino could not find a scene where he could place the song.
This movie featured soundtracks from Rick Ross, lead actor Jamie Foxx, Anthony Hamilton and even John Legend. They even re-mixed the popular song “Untouchable” by 2Pac, combined it with James Browns “The Payback” for a great sequence. The Rick Ross track named “100 Black Coffins” is placed so well in the movie, it gives you goosebumps every time you watch that scene. The track “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton gives you all the feelings you need to break free. The soundtracks are as moving as they are emotional. It is no surprise that the movie as well as the soundtrack did so well in it from critics and audiences worldwide.
7) Men In Black
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few decades, you’ve still heard of Men In Black. The sci-fi movie we all grew up watching and loving. The movie had a $90 million dollar budget, and it grossed $589 Million worldwide. That’s the success it garnered as a movie alone. Side by side was the success of it’s soundtrack.
The Men in Black soundtrack is as evergreen as the movie itself. The music and the music video for the title track Men in Black still remains hot record to this day. The soundtrack also featured singles from NAS, A Tribe Called Quest, Alicia Keys and Destiny’s Child.
8) 8 Mile
8-Mile as a movie and the soundtrack, is one that inspired generations and continues to inspire anyone who watches it. 8 Mile follows Eminem’s real life story into reel life. It traces his come up, from being Just another emcee who used to battle on the side, to to how he reached the point where is life would change. 8 Mile has inspired emcees ever since it’s launch.
8 Mile has give an insight to the world of not just rap but also the struggles of an emcee and even the world of Battle rap. The soundtrack to 8 Mile is just as classic as the movie. The soundtrack debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 albums chart that year. It’s sold over 700 thausand copies in just the first week. Features a plethora of Eminem hits, the most prominent of which , is which is the head single Lose Yourself. It also features top emcees like 50 Cent, Nas, Rakim, Xzibit, and even Gang Starr. The music in the movie itself is also epic. The “Shook Ones part 2” beat by Mobb Deep became infamous after the battle scene in the movie.
It also features songs and beats from Notorious B.I.G, Wu Tang Clan, 2Pac, Ol Dirty Bastard and many other legendary tracks. This movie is a masterpiece and established Eminem as as one of the greatest of all time once it released. His success has towered on and on even after this movie. And we are waiting eagerly for his next album Revival.
9) 2 Fast 2 Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious is a Cult classic movie. It took a great and expanded it to newer heights. It showed Street Racing in a new light. Fast 2 Furious was the sequel to the already successful fast and the furious. This time they added a whole hip hop twist to the soundtrack and added to the success of this movie even further.
The track listing for the soundtrack includes mcs like Ludacris, Trick Daddy, Chingy, Joe Budden, Fat Joe, Pitbull, Dead Prez and so on. The biggest hits of the soundtrack were of Ludacris himself, and even Joe Budden.
The song “Act A Fool” garnered worldwide recognition and even got him nominated for a Grammy Award. Joe Budden dropped the classic “Pump It Up” and instantly that song hit clubs worldwide. This song is played in clubs to this day. True definition of a timeless piece of work.
10) Bad Boys II
The movie Bad Boys 2 still remains on repeat on everyone’s playlist to this day. There is nothing more that can be said about that movie then what has already been said. It is a classic and it will remain that way forever.
The soundtrack of this movie was the first album that was released under the Bad Boy Records and Universal Records partnership. The soundtrack quickly shot to number one on the billboard charts upon release. It was critically acclaimed and Rolling Stone even stated “This is how you do a Hip-Hop sound track”. It received mass recognition worldwide.
The soundtrack has 19 tracks. It features artists like Jay-Z, P Diddy, Pharell Williams, Beyonce’, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake, MOP, The Notorious B.I.G., and so on. This tracklisting was the best that the movie world had seen at the time. It fit perfectly with Bad Boys 2 and the movie did the rest!
Bonus – Ill Manors
Ill manors is a unique creation by emcee plan B from the UK. It is not just a movie, but also an album of the same name. The soundtrack of the movie is directly the song of the album. And the movie follows the stories that have been conveyed in the album. It is not just a visual representation album, but also an expansion of the meaning of the album in the real world.
The movie stars Riz Ahmed, Ed Skrein, Anoushka Mond to name a few. Hummer in this movie is impeccably intricate. It is a crime drama film written by Plan B. The songs of the film act as a narration for the film and you have to watch and listen to the movie and album to get the complete package.
It is a 100 levels of genius that went into creating this masterpiece. It gained worldwide recognition and basically blew up in the UK on release. This is a must have for fans of movies and music alike. A true masterpiece.
Bonus – Kanye West – Black Skinhead
Kanye West has created an evergreen song to use for movies and promos alike. This song was featured on Wolf Of Wall Streets trailer, Neighbors 2 trailer, Atomic Blonde trailer and also features in a scene in the movie Suicide Squad. This song will also be featured in the WWE 2K18 video game.