Music Opinion

Top 10 Black Movie Soundtracks

Writer, Stephanie Williams shares her top 10 black movie soundtracks.

Top 10 Soundtracks

When it comes to movies, sometimes the music will move the story. It can drive emotions and it can actually drift you back to places you thought were closed off. In celebration of June being Black Music Month, I thought I would start off this month listing my top 10 Black Movie Soundtracks. Disclaimer, if you do not see your favorite, I am sorry. However, this is MY list. So let’s begin:

10. The Nutty Professor (1996):

The Nutty Professor is a 90s movie that featured Eddie Murphy as a cast of characters that endeared many and birthed the phrase “Hercules, Hercules!” The movie also featured Jada Pinkett Smith and Dave Chappelle. The soundtrack is filled with 90s R&B bops and introduces the phenomenon of R&B/Hip-Hop blended tracks. This soundtrack features not one but two songs with Foxy Brown.

Notable Tracks:
• Touch Me, Tease Me – Case feat. Mary J. Blige and Foxy Brown
• Ain’t No – Jay Z & Foxy Brown
• Last Night – Az Yet
• I Like – Montell Jordan feat. Slick Rick

9. Boomerang (1992):

We continue on the list with another Eddie Murphy movie: Boomerang. Boomerang is the story of Marcus, the perennial player who got played. The cast of characters included Halle Berry, Martin Lawrence, David Allen Grier, the late great Eartha Kitt, Robin Givens, Tisha Campbell, Chris Rock and the incomparable Grace Jones. Still to this day, I watch this movie WHENEVER it comes on television. This soundtrack was also the introduction of Toni Braxton, who is featured on three songs.

Notable Tracks:
• Love Should Have Brought You Home – Toni Braxton
• I’d Die Without You – P.M. Dawn
• End of the Road – Boyz II Men
• There U Go – Johnny Gill

8. Soul Food (1997):

Every family has problems. Every family bickers. But at the end of the day, you are family. The Joseph family is no exception. Focused on Sunday dinner, Soul Food examines the notion that family is food for the soul. Irma P. Hall, Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long, Vivica A. Fox and a young brilliant Brandon Hammond headline the cast.

Notable Tracks:
• A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men
• What About Us? – Total feat. Missy Elliott and Timbaland
• We’re Not Making Love No More – Dru Hill
• Slow Jam – Usher & Monica

7. The Best Man (1999):

“Harper Stewart: Richard Wrong, Langston Snooze”. Iconic shade and still funny to this day. The Best Man tells the story of how sometimes the truth is “stranger than fiction”. The movie had black star power and an even more magical soundtrack. I still bop along.

Notable tracks:
• What You Want – The Roots (feat. Jaguar)
• Turn Your Lights Down Low – Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley & The Wailers
• Beautiful Girl – Kenny Lattimore
• After All Is Said and Done – Beyoncé & Marc Nelson
• The Best Man I Can Be – Ginuwine, RL, Tyrese, Case

6. The Preacher’s Wife (1996):

This soundtrack is the reminder that Whitney Houston was groomed in the church. The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack features songs written by Richard Smallwood, Diane Warren, Kirk Franklin, Babyface and, surprisingly, Annie Lennox.

Notable Tracks:
• I Believe In You and Me
• Step By Step
• I Love The Lord (with the Georgia Mass Choir)
• Who Would Imagine a King
• The Lord is My Shepard – Cissy Houston with Hezekiah Walker & the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir

5. Set It Off (1996):

Let’s face it: Queen Latifah KILLED IT as Cleo. So much so, people speculated that she wasn’t exactly ACTING (but THAT is neither here nor there). The girl power in the soundtrack is electrifying. It boasts not one but two tracks featuring the Queen herself, En Vogue (with Dawn!!) and the powerhouse ballad from Brandy, Tamia, Chaka Khan and the effervescent Gladys Knight. Gladys can sing me the phone book!

Notable Tracks:
• Set It Off – Organized Noize feat. Queen Latifah
• Missing You – Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight & Chaka Khan
• Don’t Let It Go (Love) – En Vogue
• Angel – Simply Red

4. The Wiz (1978):

This list would be invalid if The Wiz wasn’t included. I know someone may come for my edges because it lands in the middle of the list. Anyone who loves movie musicals LOVES the music of the Wiz. The movie brings the Broadway play to the big screen with one notable difference: Dorothy is now a grown woman played by Diana Ross (in the play, Dorothy is a young girl played by Stephanie Mills…who SLAYYYYYYS). This movie also featured Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. Even though the movie was panned during it’s theatrical run (the 70s were not the hayday for movie musicals), it is now a cult classic.

Notable Tracks:
• Ease on Down the Road
• He’s the Wizard
• You Can’t Win
• (I’m a) Mean Ole Lion
• Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News
• A Brand New Day
• Believe in Yourself
• Home

3. Waiting to Exhale (1995):

Of course this soundtrack is on this list!!! Another soundtrack, another feature of “the voice”: Whitney Houston. The ENTIRE soundtrack features heavy writing and production by the king of R&B ballads Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

Notable Tracks:
• Exhale (Shoop, Shoop) – Whitney Houston
• It Hurts Like Hell – Aretha Franklin
• Sittin’ Up In My Room – Brandy
• Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige
• Kissing You – Faith Evans
• Count On Me – Whitney Houston & Cece Winans
• My Funny Valentine – Chaka Khan

2. Purple Rain (1984):

Purple Rain…I mean I really DON’T have to say why this is on the list, but if you need a reason here it is: BECAUSE IT’S PRINCE!
Yup, that’s all the explanation I’m giving.

Notable Tracks:
• Purple Rain
• Take Me With U
• Darling Nikki
• When Doves ry
• I Would Die 4 U
• Let’s Go Crazy

1. The Bodyguard (1992):

Two Academy Award nominations, 3 Grammys, 8 American Music awards, 14 Billboard Music awards, 1 Juno award, 1 MTV Movie award, 5 NAACP Image awards, 5 World Music awards. Yup, no doubt THIS soundtrack is the top soundtrack. This soundtrack puts an exclamation point on why Whitney Houston is the VOICE!

Notable Tracks:
• I Will Always Love You
• I’m Every Woman
• I Have Nothing
• Run to You

 

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