Although hip hop undoubtedly had humble beginnings, since its inception in the late 1970s, hip hop has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is one of the most consumed music genres in the world.
Hip hop is loved in every country in the world, and derivatives of the genre have popped up in a vast array of countries. Whether it’s the UK, France or Canada, hip hop music has had an influence on the world and has become a powerful generator of wealth and fame.
With that being said, even Hollywood has invested in the genre by bringing it to the big screen over the years. Every new hip hop movie has an accompanying soundtrack, and some of hip hops most beloved songs are not album cuts but soundtrack cuts.
Reflecting on the multitude of hip hop movies that have hit movie theatres over the years, in this article, we attempt to pick out the five best hip hop soundtracks ever made. Take a look at our potentially controversial picks below.
The five best hip hop soundtracks ever:
5. Straight Outta Compton: Music from the Motion Picture, (2016)
Made for the 2015 N.W.A biographical film, Straight Outta Compton: Music from the Motion Picture primarily features songs performed by N.W.A but also features some of their solo material from the ’80s. It also features one song from after the disbanding of N.W.A, ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’.
The film partially touches on the period when Dr Dre was forming Death Row and is full of classic tracks.
4. Adulthood: Music from the Motion Picture, (2008)
Adulthood, released in 2008, is the sequel to the 2006 film Kidulthood. Written by Noel Clarke and set in West London, the film explores the negative reality and consequences of living in inner-city London for misguided adolescents. A fictional story about a bully who accidentally kills a teen at a house party, the film explores revenge.
The soundtrack was curated by the actor Ashley Thomas formerly known as the rapper Bashy; the soundtrack of the film features the best of what UK hip hop and grime had to offer in 2008, featuring all sorts of legendary names, including the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Ghetts, Plan B and Wiley. A great soundtrack, the tracks set the tone impeccably and is unmistakably the sound of London.
3. How High The Soundtrack, (2001)
A classic stoner-comedy film, 2001’s How High stars Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man alongside his frequent collaborator Redman. Released by Def Jam, the film’s soundtrack was executively produced by the two rappers and features some of the biggest names of East Coast hip hop, such as Erick Sermon, RZA, Pete Rock and DMX.
Although the soundtrack does have a number of hits on it, the soundtrack does not feature a lot of original tracks. However, the soundtrack does feature legendary songs such as ‘Party Up (Up In Here)’ by DMX, as well as ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ by Ludacris.
2. Above the Rim – The Soundtrack, (2004)
This 1994 movie about basketball is an extremely moving film and featured the infamous West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur alongside comedian Marlon Wayans. Written by Barry Michael Cooper, the film was the last of his ‘Harlem Trilogy’ films following New Jack City and Sugar Hill.
The soundtrack of this film is undeniably legendary, as any film that stars Pac would be. Curated by Suge Knight and Dr Dre, although the film is set on the East Coast, the soundtrack is undoubtedly a West Coast musical masterpiece.
Featuring acts such as Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Lady Of Rage, Warren G and Snoop Dogg, the soundtrack includes some legendary cuts such as ‘Regulate’ by Nate Dogg and Warren G as well as ‘Pour Out a Little Liquor’ by Pac alongside Thug Life. Above the Rim – The Soundtrack is definitely a classic soundtrack and a classic.
1. 8 Mile: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture, (2002)
This soundtrack had to take the number-one spot. It is, without fail, one of the best soundtracks ever to be released. It is so good Eminem himself even re-released it for its 20-year anniversary. Released in 2002, 8 Mile: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture contains legendary tracks such as ‘Wanksta’ by 50 Cent, ‘Love Me’ featuring 50 Cent and Obie Trice and, of course, ‘Lose Yourself’.
The soundtrack itself was certified six times platinum in November of this year. Furthermore, its biggest hit, ‘Lose Yourself’, is a diamond-certified song. The soundtrack is simply legendary and is the most successful soundtrack with regard to hip hop movie soundtracks.