Above the Rim (Soundtrack Spotlight) 1994

Above the Rim (Soundtrack Spotlight) 1994: Above the Rim is an American drama directed by Jeff Pollack starring Duane Martin, Tupac Shakur, Leon Robinson and Marlon Wayans. It tells the tale of a NY high school basketball star, Kyle Watson, (played by Duane Martin) and his internal battle to stay on the right track. Tupac plays a drug dealer and runs a rival basketball team and Leon Robinson plays his brother, a high school security guard, and former basketball star. These 2 brothers are both looking to mentor the young talented star and it plays out in an eternal good vs evil struggle.

The soundtrack was released by Death Row and Interscope Records and was executively produced by Suge Knight with Dr. Dre acting as a supervisor producer on the album. The album won Soundtrack of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards. The singles from the soundtrack were “Afro Puffs” by The Lady of Rage featuring Snoop Dogg, “Anything” by SWV featuring Wu-Tang Clan, “Part Time Lover” by H-Town and arguably one of the greatest singles ever released from a soundtrack “Regulate” by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg.

“Anything” was one of the top jams from the soundtrack and features the Wu-Tang Clan, but more specifically Method Man, Ol Dirty Bastard, and U-God. The song is a classic example of when R&B meets Hip Hop in the early 90’s and was the second top single on the soundtrack. The end of the song really gets going once the Killer Bees swarm and finish off the track. “Part Time Lover” by H-town is the next single on the album at track # 3 and sounds like a mashup of Jodeci and Boyz II Men. The next song that needs some attention is “Big Pimpin” by Tha Dogg Pound featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nate Dogg and Big Pimpin.  It was produced by Dat Nigga Daz… Enough said! Anyone who knows anything about DPG and is a fan needs to bump this song and loud. Snoop still doesn’t love them hoes and and still singing that “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks”.

2nd II None and DJ Quik collaborate on the next track “Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” which they both produced. The hook that 2nd II None sings on this jam will be stuck in your head after only one rotation. “Regulate” doesn’t need much of an intro, if you haven’t heard this song then you need to get out more often. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #8 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart. The popular song samples Michael McDonalds song “I Keep Forgetting” (Every Time You’re Near), “Sign of the Times” by Bob James and “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre. “Regulate” became Def Jam’s biggest single despite Nate Dogg not appearing in the video due to conflict between Suge Knight and Def Jam. The song ended up being nominated for Best Movie Song at the 1995 MTV Movie Awards but lost to Stone Temple Pilots “Big Empty” from “The Crow” Soundtrack.

“Pour Out a Little Liquor” by Tupac & Thug Life was produced by Johnny “J” and is track # 8.  It also appeared on Thug Life’s only album “Thug Life: Volume 1” which went gold. Dr. Dre produced The Lady of Rage and Snoop Dogg collaboration “Afro Puffs” which was the first released single on the soundtrack. Other mentionable tracks that may not have received a lot of attention but are still entertaining are “Doggie Style” by D.J. Rogers (warning this is not the Snoop version), “Hoochies Need Love Too” by Paradise, and “Dogg Pound 4 Life” by The Dogg Pound featuring Snoop.

The Movie and the soundtrack are timeless and even in 2015 are definitely still worth a watch and listen. “Regulate” can still be heard being played daily on many radio stations and has withstood the test of times without skipping a beat. Although the soundtrack may not have a top hit with every track, the jams that do hit are classics.

Johnny V 5/24/15

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