This week hip-hop mourns the passing of legendary director John Singleton. The man responsible for classics like Boyz N The Hood, Poetic Justice and 2 Fast 2 Furious died at age 51, but his contributions to the world of film and the elevation of hip-hop into the mainstream are immortal. Among his many talents, Singleton knew the importance of soundtracks to films, and thanks to him some important tracks are forever on wax. These are some of our favorites:
Ice Cube – “How to Survive in South Central”
Casting Cube as “Doughboy” in Boyz n the Hood changed both of their lives forever. A breakout performance for Cube, the rapper contributed the standout cut “How to Survive in South Central” to the soundtrack, capturing the essence of the film perfectly and setting the tone for how Singleton would bring music to life on-screen.
Usher – “Call Me A Mack”
Mista Grimm featuring Warren G and Nate Dogg – “Indo Smoke”
1993’s Poetic Justice is a landmark film famous for a multitude of reasons, from Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson‘s chemistry to topping the box office and later being a major influence on Kendrick Lamar, what doesn’t get talked about as often are two landmark debuts on the soundtrack. In addition to Usher having his first single at age 14 on “Call Me A Mack,” you also have Warren G’s debut verse on Mista Grimm’s “Indo Smoke.”
Beanie Sigel featuring T.I. – “2 Glock 9’s”
Singleton’s most polarizing film may be his 2000 remake of Shaft, but one thing we can all agree on is the killer soundtrack. The highlight is probably Beanie Sigel in his prime dropped “2 Glock 9’s” that features the debut (notice a trend here?) of T.I.!
Ludacris – “Act A Fool”
How did Ludacris enter perhaps the most consistent film franchise of all time? Why, with an engine fueled by “Act A Fool.” Singleton knew how to get the most out of the rappers who acted in his films (we still await Jin to return to the franchise) and Luda’s “Act a Fool” matches his rap style and the film perfectly.