Slam Soundtrack To Highlight Hip-Hop Lyricists

Score to acclaimed film about jailed poet/rapper features tracks by Brand Nubian, Q-Tip and Goodie Mob.

When Happy Walters -- the man who supervised the rock/rap hybrid soundtrack

to the gang-violence film "Judgment Night" -- went about putting together

the soundtrack for "Slam," he searched for artists who were strong

lyricists.

"Slam," which won the Grand Jury Award at this year's Sundance Film

Festival, is a movie about a poet/rapper who struggles to maintain his

creative drive while in prison. Its soundtrack called for rappers who could

hold their own against spoken-word artists.

"I basically had my wish list and just approached artists with the film's

concept," Walters explained recently from his offices in Santa Monica,

Calif. "Most of the artists got the concept right away, and those who

weren't feeling it at first definitely got it after seeing the

movie."

The result of Walter's work is the soundtrack to "Slam," which is due in

stores on Oct. 13. It features 19 new tracks, including offerings from such

hip-hop artists as the reunited Brand Nubian ("Time Is Running Out"),

gangsta-rapper Noreaga ("Thug Poetry") and Q-Tip, whose "Hey" is his first

release since announcing his departure from the acclaimed hip-hop ensemble

A Tribe Called Quest. The soundtrack also features spoken-word performances

from various actors in the film.

One of the performers who said he was excited to take part in the

soundtrack before seeing the movie was Big Gipp from the Atlanta

rap group the Goodie Mob. The Mob performs on a remix of "Country

Livin' " by trip-hoppers Esthero. According to Gipp, his

group was eager to contribute the track even before seeing the film.

"When we heard the song, we really loved the song, and we loved the hook,

and we loved what [Esthero] was talking about," Gipp explained from a

Goodie Mob tour stop in Memphis, Tenn. "We just trying to let people

know that living in the South is not the stuff you see on cartoons -- all

country with chiggers all over. It's not like that. A lot of young people

are down here having things and respecting life."

After seeing the film, Gipp said he was even more thrilled to be involved

with the soundtrack. In short, Gipp could relate to the theme of being an

artist in a society that doesn't appreciate your work, he said. "Before we

dropped records, we worked in warehouses and labor jobs," Gipp explained.

"I used to write and rap to myself all day long, so I can relate to that

situation."

"It's like [Goodie Mob member] Cee-Lo says all the time," Gipp concluded,

" 'I'm an artsy person, I can't fit into straight society.' That's what I

do, you know what I'm saying? I was born to rap."

That, according to Walters, was what he was trying to capture with the

soundtrack. "The feeling of the movie isn't really about the injustice of

the system," Walters said. "[It's] more about people and what they do to

survive. All the [contributing] artists understood that."

In addition to the Sundance Grand Jury prize, "Slam" picked up the Art &

Essay Independent Award and the Prix du Public award at this year's Cannes

Film Festival. The film is set for general release later this year.

The track listing for the Slam soundtrack is: "CakeB" by Bonz

Malone as Hopha; "Sex, Money & Drugs" by Big Punisher, featuring

Next; "Ain't No Stoppin' " by Most Wanted, featuring Pras; "Hey" by Q-Tip; "I

Dare You" by Black Rob; "Psychopath Nut" by Momolu Stewart as Bey; "The

Park" by Ol' Dirty Bastard (a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus) and Coolio; "Sellin

D.O.P.E. (Drugs Oppress People Everyday)" by dead prez; "Thug Poetry" by

Noreaga, featuring Brown & Maze; "Why" by Jerome Goldman as Ron; "Country

Livin' (Remix)" by Goodie Mob with Esthero; "Feel My Gat Blow" by Mobb

Deep; "Take A Walk In My Shoes" by Flipmode Squad, featuring Busta Rhymes;

"I Can See" by Tekitha & Cappadonna; "Time Is Running Out" by Brand Nubian;

"Run Free" by Sonja Sohn as Lauren Bell; "Ocean Within" by KRS-One, with

Saul Williams; "Galactic Funk (Live From The Black Hole Mix)" by DJ Spooky;

and "Time (Sha-Clack-Clack)" by Saul Williams as Raymond Joshua.


VMAs 2017