Looking at the "8 Mile Soundtrack's" track listing one might think this album has the chance to be one of the greatest soundtracks ever released. 5 new Eminem tracks and brand new Xzibit, 50 Cent, Jay-z, Nas, Gangstarr and Rakim tracks! The lineup is simply amazing! However, looks can be deceiving and that's exactly the story with the "8 Mile Soundtrack".
How can a soundtrack with such a spectacular lineup of Hip-Hop legends come out this disappointing is the question everyone is asking themselves. While the biggest names in Hip-Hop appear on most of the "8 Mile Soundtrack", unfortunately most of the tracks on the album fall into the category of throw away/filler. Jay-z & Nas both appear on the soundtrack, however not to the anticipation we expected. "You Wanna Be Me" is a horribly produced Nas track that is more reminiscent of Nas's "Nastradamus" days than anything. The lyrically boring track is an obvious throwaway track as the production is truly horrendous. "8 Miles and Running" featuring Jay-z and Freeway sees much better production from none other than Marshall Mathers himself, however both Jay and Freeway deliver less than stellar performances on the mic, making the track very bland. Jay once again puts forth an uninspired verse that does nothing but disappoint, as the tracks hook is equally annoying.
Newly singed 50 Cent appears on 3 tracks throughout the album, proving he is one of the hottest emcees in the industry today. "Wanksta" is getting nation wide appeal, as it has bursted 50 Cent out into the mainstream. The version on the "8 Miles Soundtrack" is a little different, as the production has been spiced up a little, making the track even better than the original. However, 50's other solo track on the album "Places To Go" is disappointing to say the least. With some bad production behind him, 50 does his usual thug barrage, but the production isn't up to 50's par as it becomes quite irritating and repetitive over time. 50 need's production more rugged and hard-core to fit his style, and hopefully we won't see these types of tracks on 50's up and coming album.
Also featured on the album is the legendary Gangstarr with "Battle". While not bad, the track is unfortunately a basic cut and dry Primo/Guru track, making it nothing special. The production is solid, but won't amaze you. More sub par efforts on the album come from Xzibit's "Spitshine", Obie Trice's "Adrenaline Rush", and Young Zee's "That's My Nigga Fo Real". There are also two R&B tracks featured on the album, Macy Grays' "Time Of Your Life" and Boomkat's "Wasting My Time". Both tracks are awkwardly placed, and don't fit into the flow of the album. They definitely should have been left off the final cut of the album.
However the biggest disappointment is the god Rakim's self titled track "R.A.K.I.M.". For over 2 years we have waited for any Rakim material, however this wasn't what we expected. Rakim lyrically rips the track to shreds, however the track's production is some of the worst Rakim has rhymed over since "The Master". Hopefully this track is just a throwaway track for the R and not what we will see on his long awaited Aftermath debut "Oh My God".
While most of the "8 Mile Soundtrack" is disappointing, it's Eminem who saves this soundtrack from truly being horrible. Simply put, Eminem elevates this soundtrack to another level himself, no matter every one else's mediocrity. The lead single "Lose Yourself" is definitely one of Em's finest tracks in his career as he puts forth a phenomenal performance. Em displays a passion on the mic rarely seen from emcees these days as he tears the track to shreds with his semi autobiographical tale. The track also features a great message that everybody can take to heart, as its obvious Eminem has in his life. However, the hits don't stop there as the title track "8 Mile" and "Run Rabbit Run" are more theme songs for the movie that engulf Em's spirit and charisma perfectly. It seems production wise Eminem saved his best production for himself.
Em is also featured on two group collaborations "Love Me" featuring Obie Trice & 50 Cent and "Rap Game" featuring D12 & 50 Cent. "Love Me" features some spectacular production and a beautifully placed sample that engulfs the track with spirit and soul. Em once again sets the mic ablaze, but its 50 who delivers a rather memorable performance with his how to rob type verse. "Rap Game" also features some sick production as D-12 put forth a solid performance while 50 spits the hook. However, like always its Eminem who steals the show with his politically charged verse filled with anger towards Bush and the U.S. government.
Overall, the "8 Mile Soundtrack" ends up as one of the biggest disappointments of the year. With such a stellar line up of artists, it's amazing how most of the tracks ended up in mediocrity. However, Eminem does steal the show, as every track he is featured on ends up being spectacular. For most fans the "8 Mile Soundtrack" will be worth it's price just for Eminem alone.