Jay-Z, DMX, Wu-Tang, Mos Def Bone Up 'Topdog/Underdog' LP

Rappers' tracks joined by cuts from Muddy Waters, James Brown.

Mos Def and Jeffrey Wright, co-stars of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Topdog/Underdog," have recorded new music for a wildly diverse soundtrack to the Broadway play.

Due July 30, the compilation of music featured in or inspired by "Topdog/Underdog" will feature tracks by rappers Jay-Z, DMX and Wu-Tang Clan with Nas next to standards by R&B, soul and blues legends James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

Mos Def's "Three Card" is the soundtrack's first single, according to an MCA Records spokesperson. The song is about his "Topdog" character, Booth, a shoplifter who strives to be as good of a three-card monte hustler as his orphaned brother, Lincoln (see "Mos Def Hitting Broadway, Silver Screen With De Niro, Method Man").

Wright's "Lincoln's Blues" is similarly based on his character's struggles and was written by the play's scribe, Suzan-Lori Parks. Wright has appeared on soundtracks for some of his past performances, including the cast recording of "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk."

"Topdog/Underdog," which earned Parks a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, began off-Broadway last year and moved to the Great White Way in early 2002. It will open in Los Angeles in November.

"Topdog/Underdog" track list, according to MCA:

  • Mos Def - "Three Card"

  • Jeffrey Wright - "Lincoln's Blues"

  • Wayne Shorter - "Genesis"

  • Wayne Shorter - "Face of the Deep"

  • James Brown - "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"

  • James Brown - "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"

  • James Brown - "Payback"

  • Jay-Z - "Change the Game"

  • Son House - "Grinnin' in Your Face"

  • Muddy Waters - "Got My Mojo Working"

  • DMX - "No Love 4 Me"

  • DMX - "Bring Your Whole Crew"

  • Howlin' Wolf - "Poor Boy"

  • Robert Johnson - "Hellhound on My Trail"

  • Wu-Tang Clan (featuring Nas) - "Let My N---as Live"

  • John Lee Hooker - "Boom Boom"