Rush Hour 2 Soundtrack
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.Label: Universal.Published: 2001
Rush Hour 2 ist ein buntes Gemisch vorfabrizierter Klänge und mutet eher wie ein Kooperationsprojekt von Firmen als eine künstlerische Leistung an. Das Rezept: Man nehme Raid Def Jams Stall von schlachterfahrenen Veteranen (LL, Scarface) und deren Nachfolgern (Musiq, Christina Milian), füge Auftritte von einigen echt heißen Namen hinzu (Snoop, Jill Scott), streue einige Berühmtheiten ein, die ein wenig außerhalb der Trampelpfade agieren (wie der japanische Superstar Hikaru Utada) und -- wie Nate Dogg in "Paper Trippin'" singt -- mache sich heran ans Kitschsammeln!
Auch eine noch so wild gewordene Produktionsweise kann die überall angesagte lasche, energielose Ausstrahlung nicht aufpäppeln. Ludacris' schmutzigen, aber lustigen "Area Codes" sind ziemlich eingängig, ebenso wie Meths "Party & Bulls", das er von Biggie bezog. Macy Gray hilft dabei, einen Klassiker von Slick Rick zu einem interessanten Big Band Lullaby werden zu lassen. Jill Scott und "Love Again" von Jazz hingegen ist kaum mehr als eine postmoderne Verkörperung von Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway. LLs "Crazy Girl" ist der erbarmungslos schlechteste Song, den er uns jemals zugemutet hat. Aber es gibt auch gute Nachrichten: Keith Murray ist immer noch am besten. Selbst Rockwilders Synthesizer-Beat kann an Schärfe mit Def Squadians musikalischer Rückkehr nicht mithalten. --Rebecca Levine
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Ludacris - This song, though admittedly ..., is definitely catchy. It's simplistic and funny, and that's really where its strengths lie.
Montell Jordan - Jordan's created another danceable joint. It's not his best, but its uptempo beats keep the CD banging. He's got the voice that makes the ladies swoon. If you've got a hot date, put this track at the front of the tape to set the sexy mood for the rest of the night.
Meth/T.R. - The original rumpshaker and Meth get together to pop off gibberish about party M.C.ing. This is one of the hottest tracks on the album and is definitely able to get a party jumping. Yo TR, what's that ish you on?
Kandice Love - A throwback to the golden age of R&B, this song is about getting yourself together and telling that bad bad man "NO"! Very cool song. Sing along and you'll find yourself doing the Ricki Lake "Talk to the hand" maneuver.
Keith Murray - The best song on the album. You've got three and a half minutes of blindingly fast lyrics blasting out of this M.C. BTW, whatever happened to "Word is bond"?
Jazz - Jill Scott is off the hook. What else can be said about this song? The only snag in this lovely tapestry is the extraneous guitar noise. A little less of that and this might have been one of the best songs on the CD.
Musiq/Redman - As much as I'm a big fan of Redman, this track was not one of his best. The singing of Musiq is mediocre and Redman's rhymes are not up to snuff. With other stellar tracks available, this one gets drowned out.
LL Cool J - The man's been around for years and, unlike other old school rappers, he still keeps coming with freshness. Some will like the song, others not, but it definitely has something new for J. Smith fans. Sing-songy with a hint of KRS-1-style reggae/rap thrown in, it's a pretty cool song.
Lovher - I really can't say enough about this song. It is bad. The singing is okay and the music is alright, but man, you'll come away thinking that the singer is a complete ... In love with a ..., and that's how it's going to be. Boohoo, everyone's against me, and everyone hates my boyfriend. Yawn.
WC/Nate Dogg - Right when the CD feels like it's about to fall apart, WC and NG put together a solid track that keeps everything moving along nicely. It isn't anything earthshattering, but it doesn't beg for the Next button like the songs immediately surrounding it do. Real West Coast flavor is the order for the evening and they deliver it right on time.
Christina Milian - If you like this song, you'll *love* Sweetbox. Take away the lyrics and this song becomes a generic R&B song. Put the lyrics back in and you realize that you should have just left them out in the first place. ... This song should have been left on the cuttingroom floor.
Say Yes - Who are these guys? Where did they come from? The only Rock song on the album and if you've made it this far, you'll be richly rewarded. Nice guitar riffs, decent vocals, a non-sensical theme, this songs got it all. Definitely one of the top 3 songs on the album.
Utada Hikaru - *sigh* Every singer should get to debut without 'guest artists' to give a good (or bad) flavor to her audience. Hikki doesn't get that chance. She instead gets Foxy Brown to ruin her song for her. Hikki's been taking voice lessons, her singing has much improved, even compared to her mediocre album Distance. Her song writing is far from improved, though, and I still think she would do better with a professional songwriter backing her up. Foxy Brown, though, totally destroys anything that might have been good about this song. She's all over the map with her particular brand of female ..., while Utada's lyrics are not related in any way to that theme. The addition of this song was a marketing decision to bring Asian buyers, pure and simple.
Benzino - You know what? Skip this track. The track ... Skip this track.
3rd Storee - Bumping. Seriously cool. It's got all the makings of a classic R&B song that we'll be hearing played to death on the radio even 5 years from now.
FT - Gibberish? At least this song can be skipped and it leads to the last song:
Macy Gray/Slick Rick - Very nice wrap up to this album. Though a little high-pitched (almost child-like), the singing is fun and interesting. Rick's lyrics could have been a bit tighter, but all in all this is a really solid song.
This CD is definitely worth the asking price. If they had been a bit more selective with a few of the songs, I would have given it 5 stars.
We now interrupt this review for a News Story...
Hikki, or rather the name she likes better in the America biz, Hikaru Utada, has signed a contract with Island Def Jam, a division of Universal Music Group. According to Japanese news sources, Hikaru will apparently record an album and it will be released nationwide.
Now back to the review...
Anyways, Hikaru Utada becomes the single Asian on this album and sings in English. Unfortunately, this song isn't quite as good as her Japanese works or even her rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon", which was featured on the "Wait & See ~Risk~" single. Her vocals seem faded and behind the music/rapping/background vocals unlike most of her Japanese work. Her vocals also seem weak, unassertive and uninspired as well. As far as I can tell, she didn't write the song either. Overall, this isn't one of the centerpieces of Hikaru's works and this album is not an essential buy for the Hikki fan. I, personally, can only hope that she follows her own path in her music writing, since her abilities are much better than it has been illustrated in this song...
But hands down, the strongest track on this album is "I'm Sorry" by 3rd Storee, and if this song does not become a hit, I think I'll throw away my pen, and give on up my quest to become a full-time music critic, because I believe in this song very much. Vocally, 3rd Storee sounds like a mixture between Dru Hill and Boyz II Men, and the song is so plush. Check this one out folks, for real.
On the hip hop side, I think I'll get a little serious...Personally, I feel that hip hop music is quickly going the way of Rock'n'Roll, in that while it was pioneered by primarily African-Americans, as an art form it no longer has to acknowledge the Black experience to be considered authentic. 15 years ago during the beginning of the "Golden Era" of hip hop, I think things were a lot different...
Although "Area Codes" has become a hit, and I very much enjoyed Ludacris' "Southern Hospitality", I very much dislike this song for its blatant disrespect of women...and when it comes to hip hop, it ain't 'suburban' (code word) women that most suburban hip hop fans are laughing at. Other not-so-good tracks to skip include "Paper Trippin" and "Figadoh"...sorry.
When editorial reviewer Rebecca Levine (above) says Keith Murray is still the most "beautiful" thing, she gets it wrong. The name of the song was actually "the most beautifullest thing"...Ms. Levine, don't claim to be able to pass judgement on hip hop music (like LL's not-so-bad "Crazy Girl") when you can't get your facts straight...I'm only keeping it real.
So on the hip hop side, yes, Keith Murray's "He's Back" is the best track on the album by far, with production by Da Rockwilder. Lyrically, I feel that the intensity of Murray's flow is highly reminiscent of early LL actually. "Brolic" by FT is catchy, and Meth's "Party and (Stuff)" is slammin...it's welcome return for the Grandaddy of New Jack Swing, the one and only Mr. Teddy Riley.
On the pop tip, "No" by Kandice Love sounds like something off of the Spice Girls' latest flop 'Forever' (produced by Rodney Jerkins) and songs by Hikaru Utada, Christina Milian and Lovher round out the album nicely. Oh, and by the way..."The World Is Yours" by Macy Gray and Slick Rick is definitely a favorite...I usually have to hear it twice.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. and "Keep It Real" with Redman and Musiq is just O.K. The whole album is a C+ to me...