Various Artists - Cradle 2 The Grave  
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written by Low Key    
Throughout the years we have learned one thing about Hip-Hop and Hollywood; they do not mix. Hip Hop inspired films are rarely depicted accurately and their accompanying soundtracks are just as bad. Continuing on this trend is the new Dmx soundtrack for his new action flop of 2003, "Cradle 2 The Grave".

While a host of big industry names such as Eminem, The Clipse, G-Unit, CNN, MOP & Fat Joe make solid appearances on the soundtrack, most of the album features Dmx's lackluster Bloodline running mates such as Big Stan, Kashmir & Bazaar Royale among others. These relative unknowns are your typical tag along emcees happy just to get on at Dmx's expense. Bloodline's only female emcee Kashmir sounds like an exact replica of Eve, duplicating her flow, style, and wordplay exactly. Her only track on the album "Focus" is all too similar in today's world of female emcees. Some may remember Big Stan and Loose from Dmx's debut "Its Dark And Hell Is Hot", and for those that don't they have a good reason to forget. Big Stan's "Hand That Rocks The Cradle" and the collaboration of Loose & Jinx Da Juvy on "Its Gon Be What Its Gon Be" are your typical thug efforts that lack any essential characteristics in making a successful song.

Fellow Ruff Ryder Drag-on continues his infatuation with fire on the cleverly titled "Fireman". Drag continues to spit anything but fire, as his tiresome metaphors are outdated and overshadowed by today's younger generation of up and coming emcees. However, the worst of the Bloodline roster is Bazaar Royale, who combines horrendous harmonized singing along with hard-core raps into one big mess called "Whats If All For" that sounds sloppily put together and down right embarrassing. More relative unknowns that offer nothing but the pushing of the fast forward button are Comp's "Do Sumptin", Profit on "Slangin Dem Thangs" & the Bloodline posse cut "Getting Down".

As with any soundtrack, hosts of the industry's elite make some solid guest appearances. The most notable is of course the Eminem, Dmx & Obie Trice collaboration of "Go To Sleep". Continuing his rise to 2pac like status, Eminem goes all out with an intense anger filled verse where he attacks critics and enemies, even throwing in a message that Ja Rule can get it to. While Em's production continues to be stellar, with his dark, melodic sounds, his fiery personality is getting a little too unbelievable. Obie Trice and Dmx are also featured on the track, even though most wont take notice as Eminem's ranting of "die motherfucker die" along with fake gun shots are enough to drag your attention away and onto the blond bomber.

Fellow Shady Records employee 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew show up for the usual combination of thugged out imagery and sing along hooks on "Follow Me Gangsta". The Sha Money XL produced track is one of his finest and would have been a nice inclusion on 50's album. In a collaboration you knew was bound to happen sooner or later, Capone and Noreaga hook up with M.O.P. on the energetic sounds of "Stompdashitoutyou". In typical fashion both crews raw energy come out in full effect, complimenting each other perfectly. The Clipse continue their ride of success with "I'm Serious" produced by Ez-Elpee. While hearing The Clipse without The Neptune's would be blasphemy to some, Ez-Elpee hooks Malice and Pusha T up with a more darker, hard-core sound that fits perfectly with The Clipse tiresome tales of pushing weight. "I'm Serious" is a nice change of pace for The Clipse and in the future should look towards harder sounding production like this.

Of course Dmx makes a strong appearance on the album with his two cuts "X Gonna Give It To Ya" and "Right/Wrong". The lead single "X Gonna Give It To You" is your typical X track that doesn't sway too far away from his usual formula. Nevertheless it is still a successful attempt that ends up much better than his previous singles seen on "The Great Depression". "Right/Wrong" sees X go back to his glory days of gloomy introspective depictions of his life. Hopefully more efforts like this will appear on his future release sometime this year.

Overall the "Cradle 2 The Grave" soundtrack is like all those that came before it, inconsistent and plagued with filler material. Unless you are a fan of Dmx's Bloodline crew, the soundtrack gives you no reason to waste your hard-earned cash on it. The only question remaining is which is worse, the movie or the soundtrack?

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