Reviews

Various Artists

The Bad Boys II soundtrack is the flagship album from Bad Boy Entertainment's new distribution deal with Universal Music Group. A lot is on the line for CEO Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who pulls out all the stops by securing tracks by the hottest artists and producers for his new venture.

"Shake Ya Tailfeather," a mix of fun lyrics, kick drums, and horns, has Diddy, Nelly, and Murphy Lee expressing their pleasure with how the ladies "move somethin" in the club. But Jay-Z's "La La La" is undoubtedly the album's strongest offering. Jay lyrically murders the Neptunes' piano-backed production with extraordinarily clever lyrics like "You can't see me dog/Nigga ya C-B-4/This ain't Chris Rock bitch/This the Roc bitch/And I'm the franchise like a Houston Rocket, Yao Ming [pronounced ya-know-what-I-mean]." Here he easily displays why he is a master at making hip-hop music suitable for the casual fan yet potent enough for the most passionate traditionalist. With "La La La" and "Shake Ya Tailfeather" as the lead singles for the BBII soundtrack, P. Diddy aims toward reclaiming his early-Nineties omnipresence in the streets and in the clubs.

Elsewhere Diddy gives up-and-coming producer Red Spyda some shine on "Realest Niggas," the highly touted underground collaboration between the Notorious B.I.G. and 50 Cent. Red Spyda laces the track with gunshots and claps over a bouncing bass line and stuttering horns. Meanwhile church bells ring in producer Tony Dofat's haunting composition "Why," as each member of Diddy's Making the Band 2 crew gets a verse. On "Show Me Your Soul," Diddy joins Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, and Loon in some simple braggadocio. "Yo I'm back by popular demand and shit/Niggas want the crown but can't handle it/This rap game's getting scandalous/I done lost my best friend in Los Angeles/My other nigga turned evangelist/But I can't quit cause I'm on some Evander shit," rhymes Diddy over a James Brown-inspired chorus sung by -- who else? -- Williams. The BBII soundtrack even includes a joint from Brooklyn's beloved street ambassadors, M.O.P ("Wanna Be G's"). There are also a few solid R&B cuts by Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake, adding balance to this rap-heavy album. In an increasingly frenetic consumer market where soundtrack compilations are selling poorly, Diddy has successfully made a collection that keeps your attention and prompts you to shake your backside.

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Christopher Sanders