Can Jay-Z Save the Soundtrack?

May 9th, 2013

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

By Jake Rohn

Some of you might not be old enough to remember, but hip hop soundtracks used to be an event. Songs like the Nate Dogg and Warren G karaoke classic “Regulate” and Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was the Case” remix made soundtracks like Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case bigger than most albums. In fact, the Murder Was the Case soundtrack was 10 times bigger than the movie itself. So where has that musical impact gone? What ever happened to the blockbuster soundtrack? It looks like Jay-Z is taking a shot at giving the genre a much needed shot in the arm.

With iTunes came the death of the motion picture soundtrack as we know it. These days they are mostly collections of old or recycled songs. At the helm of The Great Gatsby soundtrack is Jay-Z and for the first time in years it’s a soundtrack that boasts new songs like Beyoncé’s and Andre 3000’s “Back to Black,” will.i.am’s “Bang Bang” and “$100 Bill” by Hov himself. The soundtrack features an all-star list of artists like Nero, Florence and the Machine and Jack White. Now more than ever is the perfect time for soundtracks to make a comeback. Having an original song to go along with a new movie is the perfect cross-promotional tool to catapult both the film itself as well as the album. For a good example look no further than Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was not only part of the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds, it became embedded in the movie’s DNA.

Though critics are predicting an underwhelming debut for The Great Gatsby, the soundtrack has already received tons of press as one of the biggest albums of the year. With a new generation that seems to have a more diverse palate for music, this soundtrack is the perfect representation of what an album should look like these days.

Gatsby might turn out to be a mediocre movie. So far the reviews are mixed. But the soundtrack is both great and diverse. It’s the perfect album to show why we need more like it. Epic movies need epic soundtracks and the Jay-Z produced Great Gatsby just might be the perfect album at the perfect time.

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