This is your run-of-the-mill movie rap soundtrack. This one unites several rappers of multiple styles...there's West Coast, East Coast, Dirty South, and Latino on this CD. Unfortunately, the problem is that many of these tracks simply aren't that good...and yes, you guessed it, the lead single, 'You Can Do It', is the biggest offender. True, I'm very much into hardcore rap, but I still think I'm entitled to expect a bit more considering the caliber of the labels and artists that contributed to this soundtrack.
How the aforementioned Ice Cube track became such a big radio hit is simply beyond me, but the bottom line is that it's wack as hell. Following the commercial failure of 'War and Peace Vol. 1', it's obvious that Ice Cube is trying to leave his gangsta roots for a more mainstream-friendly sound, but it isn't working. After hearing the annoying beat and absolutely HORRIBLE hook featuring Ms. Toi, I quickly hit the fast-forward button.
Fortunately, the album is subsequently helped somewhat by the inclusion of something people have wanted for a long time - a reunion of the World's Most Dangerous Group (TM) in which Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and Snoop Dogg (substituting for Eazy-E - RIP) proceed to reminisce on their earlier days. 'Chin Check', the new N.W.A. track, succeeds mostly in part due to its very simplicity, but also due to the natural union of the four rappers on the mike. They come off nicely.
There are some other good tracks on this album. The Eminem track 'Murder Murder' is pretty good, although it goes over-the-top more than a few times (remember that this was early-2000, and his style back then was still ultra-shockcore). 'Shaolin Worldwide', a very epic-sounding track by the Wu Tang Clan, is certainly quality although hardly original. And 'Mamacita', a collaborative track by Kid Frost, Don Cisco, Kurupt, and Soopafly, has a sweet Latino player flair.
Unfortunately, just about every other track is crap. Party-oriented Dirty South tracks such as Big Tymers'/Mack-10's 'Good Friday' and Lil' Zane's 'Money Stretch' are little more than radio fodder intended for a brief listen in the clubs. The same more-or-less applies to Vita's 'We Murderers Baby' (featuring Ja Rule) and Pharoahe Monch's 'Livin it Up'. 'Low Income' by Wyclef Jean might sound good at first, but comes off sounding too unpolished. Perhaps the most inane track on the whole album is Bizzy Bone's 'Fried Day', a twisted weed-smoking junkie's daydream. Sure, it's melodiously unique (like most stuff by Bone-Thugz-N-Harmony), but it's just too cheesy for anybody to listen to with a straight face - unless they're as high as Bizzy probably was when he wrote this track, of course.
I'll admit that I never bothered with Aaliyah's 'I Don't Wanna' or Toni Estes' 'Hot', so I'll reserve judgement of those tracks for people who are into that kind of stuff. I bought this soundtrack to hear rap, after all.
Overall, what you get is a generic rap soundtrack with one or two good tracks, but a general quality range of 'nothing special' to 'mediocre'. Unless you're an N.W.A. fan interested in hearing the reunion song, you can certainly do a lot better than the 'Next Friday' soundtrack.