Here’s a forgotten aspect of the early 90’s. Remember Anthrax and Public Enemy teaming up to re-do PE’s “Bring The Noise”? (There was also Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith’s much more successful experiment with their remake of “Walk This Way.”) I’m sure MTV put it on both Headbanger’s Ball and Yo! MTV Raps. I have no idea why, but every executive in music programming at the time thought there was going to be huge crossover appeal between metal and rap. There seemed to be few to no actual musicians wanting to do something this, with the notable exceptions of the aforementioned bands and bands like Rage Against The Machine and their redheaded stepcousins Biohazard. It must have been that the execs were like, “Frustrated teenage boys love metal! And they love rap! So they should love both.” Which is complete ignorance of teenage boys at the time who were very sectarian in their metal v. rap camps. So we kept getting this crammed down our throat, even though it was never going to work.
And that’s before you even get to the music. Why did anybody think this was a good musical hybrid? Sure, sometimes you get rap songs over metal riffs, but those generally have had so much of the original metal song stripped out of them, that why would metalheads want to be involved? Again, there is nothing that says this should work, so why did it all culminate in this disaster of a soundtrack where every track is a metal (or just guitar-driven rock) band and hip-hop artist paired up for original songs?
Almost everything feels mailed in here. It feels like the rockers either tossed off a 30-second riff or reheated some of the stuff they were about to throw out because it was going bad, sent it to the rappers who tossed off a few rhymes, name-dropped the metal band involved, and acted tough to match the theme of the film.
I’m really not sure you can even say a lot of the bands were even involved. “Real Thing” by Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill sounds kinda like Pearl Jam, but Eddie Vedder definitely isn’t involved…at which point, is it even Pearl Jam? I own this because Faith No More is on it, paired with Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., and that track is merely boring, but it’s got very little Faith No More in it. I’m not sure who their guitarist was on this track, but it doesn’t sound like Jim Martin’s or Trey Spruance’s work. Songwriting credits are given to all four non-guitarist members, so my money’s on bassist Billy Gould covering the guitar parts here. There’s some keys and Mike Patton doing low, sonorant, wordless vocalization, but otherwise it hardly constitutes a Faith No More track. And actually what keeps that track as high as an open rating is the rapping. (House Of Pain and Onyx likewise steal their tracks.)
The best exception that proves the rule on here is the Slayer/Ice-T track “Disorder,” which Wikipedia credits as being a medley of three songs by The Exploited. So here you’ve got songs that were written to be songs, played by all four members of Slayer with their inimitable sound, and it’s all awesome enough that they kind of cover for the ridiculousness Ice-T brings to the table. (Remember his stupid metal band Body Count? They were mostly famous for their PMRC-baiting and truly tasteless and prurient “Cop Killer.”) Other tracks that bear the imprint of their rock band are also due to the style and sound of their guitarists: Vernon Reid of Living Colour and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. Those guys just have their own sound.
Okay so at the top of this review I gave you “Walk This Way.” Are there any other examples where the rap/metal hybrid thing really works well? A serious question.
– “Disorder” (Slayer and Ice-T)
– “Me, Myself, & My Microphone” (Living Colour and Run-D.M.C.), “Another Body Murdered” (Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.), “Missing Link” (Dinosaur Jr. and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien)
– “Just Another Victim” (Helmet and House Of Pain), “Fallin'” (Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul), “Judgment Night” (Biohazard and Onyx), “I Love You Mary Jane” (Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill), “Freak Momma” (Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot), “Come And Die” (Therapy? and Fatal), “Real Thing” (Pearl Jam And Cypress Hill)
Filed Between: Judas Priest (Painkiller) and Jump, Little Children (The Licorice Tea Demos)
Song Notes: After the jump