If you had just awakened from a five-year coma, you could learn an awful lot about modern mainstream hip-hop by listening to the soundtrack to the film "Bad Boys II." The disc, the first P. Diddy offering since his new distribution deal with Universal Records, offers a broad swath of original performances and collaborations. The first single, Jay-Z's "La, La, La," is receiving strong airplay.
Diddy himself surfaces with Lenny Kravitz and Loon on the Neptunes-produced "Show Me Your Soul," with Nelly and Murphy Lee on "Shake Your Tailfeather" and Fat Joe and Dre on "Girl, I'm a Bad Boy." One of the most intriguing cuts is "Realest N---as," which features a recording of the late Notorious B.I.G. matched up with 50 Cent. The album also includes songs by Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, Mario Winans and Foxy Brown, Snoop Dogg and others.
A hip-hop heavyweight who didn't contribute to the soundtrack, Ludacris, plays a major role in one of the other top releases of the week, the debut by 23-year-old Chingy, called Jackpot. The disc, the first on Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace Records, features production by Trackmasters and cameos by Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Murphy Lee and DJ Quik. The single "Right Thurr" has been a club hit since last fall and is burning up at radio.
Keith Murray's first album in five years, He's Keith Murray, sees the rapper making a re-entry in grand style. The disc features tracks with Redman, Busta Rhymes and Erick Sermon and five skits with Jamie Foxx.
Cold aren't the only hot hard rock band out of Jacksonville, Florida. A shining beacon on the metal radio landscape, Shinedown offer moody guitar rock that sounds like a hybrid of Creed and Alice in Chains. Their debut, Leave a Whisper, features the single "Fly From the Inside," which is receiving strong support from alternative and active rock radio.
On www.berniewilliams.com, Paul McCartney said this of Yankees star center fielder Bernie Williams' album, The Journey Within: "I was blown away by his talent. Go Bernie. It's a homerun!" The disc's release coincides with the 74th All-Star Game and features jazz and Latin numbers as well as covers of Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" and Billy Joel's "And So It Goes."
Frontman Ken Andrews hopes he has more luck with Year of the Rabbit than he did with his last band, Failure. The group's self-titled debut is a galactic mixture of fist-tight riffs and tuneful vocals reminiscent of a more commercial Queens of the Stone Age. And if it doesn't work out, Andrews can continue his side career as a producer, working with bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, A Perfect Circle and Tenacious D.
GWAR frontman Dave Brockie's second solo disc from DBX, Songs for the Wrong, follows up his 2001 album, Diarrhea of a Madman. Long Island alt-rockers Diffuser present their sophomore disc, Making the Grade. The My Bloody Valentine-influenced group Medicine return from an eight-year absence with the noise-tinged pop album The Mechanical Forces of Love. And Pearl Jam pal Pete Droge releases his fourth rootsy rock album, Skywatching.
Here's the full rundown of what's coming out this week:
Out Tuesday, July 15:
- Beehive & the Barracudas - In Dark Love (Swami)
- Si Begg - Director’s Cut (novamute)
- Brainstorm - Soul Temptation (Metal Blade)
- Dave Brockie Experience - Songs for the Wrong (Metal Blade)
- Bukshot - They Still Don’t Love Me (Pale Horse/Mob Style)
- Cheap Sex Launch - Off to War (Punkcore)
- Chingy - Jackpot (Capitol)
- Cranes - Live in Italy (Instinct)
- Rob Crow - My Room Is a Mess (Absolutely Kosher)
- Deadweight - Stroking the Moon (Alternative Tentacles)
- Diffuser - Making the Grade (Hollywood)
- Pete Droge - Skywatching (United Musicians)
- Evil Jake - Be My Ex-Girlfriend (Evil)
- The Fondas - Coming Now! (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
- Friends Forever - Killball (Load)
- Honeyrider - All Systems Go (Orange Sky)
- The Incredible Moses Leroy - Become the Soft.Lightes (Ultimatum)
- Left Front Tire - 42 Ways to Lose a Friend (Yep Roc)
- Lordz of Brooklyn - Graffiti Roc (Tunnelvizion)
- Medicine - The Mechanical Forces of Love (Wall of Sound/Astralwerks)
- The Methadones - Career Objective (Thick)
- Keith Murray - He's Keith Murray (Def Jam)
- Nicotine - School of Liberty (Asian Man)
- Patrick Park - Loneliness Knows My Name (Hollywood)
- Pole - Pole (Mute)
- RX Bandits The Resignation (Drive-Thru/MCA)
- Shinedown - Leave a Whisper (Atlantic)
- Chris Standring - Groovalicious (Pyramid Media)
- Throwdown - Haymaker (Trustkill)
- Tokyo Rose - Reinventing a Lost Art (SideCho)
- Twisted Method - Escape From Cape Coma (MCA)
- Warlord - And the Cannons of Destruction (Metal Blade)
- Bernie Williams - The Journey Within (GRP)
- Year of the Rabbit - Year of the Rabbit (Elektra)
- Various Artists - Across 155th St. - The EBC/Rucker Park Soundtrack (DreamWorks)
- Various Artists - Pure Trance 2 (Water Music)
- Original Soundtrack - Bad Boys II (Bad Boy)
- Original Soundtrack - Hip Hop Story (Pyramid Media)
- Original Soundtrack - Johnny English (Decca)
- Jane's Addiction - Strays (Capitol)
- Kiss - Symphony: Alive IV (Sanctuary)
- Various artists - The Neptunes Present: Clones (Arista)
- Tamia - Still (Elektra)
- Mariah Carey - Remixes (Sony)