Various : Exit Wounds – The Album

The soundtrack to the DMX-starring movie pulls no punches...

It’s almost standard practice for Hollywood moguls to tie-in action movies with a hip-hop soundtrack, especially when a rapper co-stars. As DMX extends his thespian powers in the new Steven Segal vehicle, here’s a compilation of established and upcoming hip-hop and R&B acts to lend street flavour to what is essentially a major commercial enterprise.

Which is why you’re gonna be surprised how dark and bleak things sometimes get on ‘Exit Wounds’. DMX‘s cool and laconic interpolation of Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ starts us off with a pointed death threat; Nas pens autumnal ghetto poetry on ‘Gangsta Tears’; and, in typical fashion, The Lox’s ‘Bust Your Gun’ gets rough and heartless. Not to forget the descriptions of casual violence and hopelessness, as well as pledges of allegiance to the thug life by Memphis Bleek, Mack 10 (with Cash $ Millionaires) and others.

Of course, there is a parallel strain of light-heartedness, as evinced by Ideal’s paean to a seductive lifestyle – and Sincere/Timbaland‘s risque ‘Party’ – if not taken to extremes on Outsiderz 4 Life’s amoral celebration of the lap-dance milieu. Plus, rookies like Lady Luck and Iceberg more than hold their respective corners with sharp rhyme skills.

It’s just that, despite all the bright and shiny productions, and the glamorous, innovative beats, an undertow of sadness prevails. And so it should – artists can hardly be expected to shut out the decay that exists outside their money-gilded cages.

Dele Fadele