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
- Just Another Victim – Helmet and House Of Pain – I feel bad about this, but I actually like this when it first goes into the rap part. There’s that dumb P.E. siren drop that gets super old super fast. But the House Of Pain part is much better than the Helmet part. Even with the dumb lyrics. It’s not enough to save it. The “Just Another Victim” line in both parts sucks.
- Fallin’ – Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul – This is a melded one. It’s not all that good, but I don’t hate it. Sounds like Biz Markie in there.
- Me, Myself, & My Microphone – Living Colour and Run D.M.C. – Vernon Reid kicks so much ass here. This is him doing right in the mode of Stain. I don’t like the repetitiveness of the chorus, but a lot of this is pretty good.
- Judgment Night – Biohazard and Onyx – God I hate Biohazard so bad. I think they’ve got Onyx on here right from the start. And I kinda like his diction/beats/style. But does the Biohazard suck enough to make it broken? Actually it’s not like that. It’s like is Onyx good enough for me to push this up to open? No. The worst part of this whole album is the ridiculous, “Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, Mother. Fucker.” at the end of this track. Honestly, only stupid people could like Biohazard. Anybody with an ounce of thought in them would realize how awful they are.
- Disorder – Slayer and Ice-T – The Slayer guit is what makes this. May even be full. I find Ice-T to be so much of a joke that I can’t even hear it without rolling my eyes a little in my mouth. I wonder if the fact that this is like a medley of covers is what makes this the best song on the disc. Like, since they didn’t write a new song, just plowed out some proven ones, it doesn’t get bogged down like the rest of them.
- Another Body Murdered – Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. – Patton doing his Patton thing. Feels mailed in. Sound is a bit muddy. Very little FNM influence.
- I Love You Mary Jane – Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill – The knock on Cypress Hill is that all their songs are basically just “I like pot,” so they go and name a song “I Love You Mary Jane.” So the question is, is that tongue-in-cheek? If so it’s pretty funny. If not it’s pretty ridiculous. Kim Gordon doing her breathy thing. Way too repetitive. Just flat out stupid. I’m guessing the title is sincere.
- Freak Momma – Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot – I hate this guy’s voice, too. It’s his style that’s so distinctive. Not into the Mudhoney bits either. Totally feels mailed in.
- Missing Link – Dinosaur Jr. and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien –
- Come & Die – Therapy? and Fatal – God this ends dumb. Just histrionic “DIE!!!”
- Real Thing – Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill – This is not very good. I’m not sure these two artists were ever in the same room together. Well, I wonder that about a lot of these tracks. There is very little Pearl Jam influence here. Pretty sure Eddie Vedder wasn’t involved at all.