*Based on the music in this post (Vanilla Ice, etc.), we’re using this term really loosely.
Growing up in the ’90s, I learned everything I know about music and pop culture through constant absorption of TV and movies. Movie soundtracks became pretty essential to my understanding of pop music. Most of the music I listened to in my early childhood were Bollywood soundtracks, so the shift from Bollywood to Hollywood was fairly natural.
Unfortunately, this movie soundtrack-based knowledge meant that my exposure to music at an early age was questionable at best. The combination of mainstream hip-hop and ’90s big budget action blockbusters gave us some true gems of both cinematic and musical history.
There are some obvious songs that should come to mind when you think of over the top ’90s action (often also fantasy) movies. The star power of Will Smith in both movies and music gave us two huge ’90s hits.
Only one of those movies was good, but both of those songs are AMAZING.
If you were an elementary schooler in the ’90s, like I was, there are certain hip-hop songs ties to cartoon “action” movies that evoke a deep feeling of nostalgia and confusion.
First up, we have “Ninja Rap,” Vanilla Ice’s greatest contribution to a movie about mutated teenage turtles who also happened to be ninjas.
Also, literally any song off of the Space Jam soundtrack, because most children of the ’90s can pretty much sing that entire glorious soundtrack.
Speaking of soundtracks that perfectly match the movie, we also have the Batman Forever soundtrack, which featured Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” and U2’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.” Both of them, ridiculously cheesy and melodramatic, not unlike Batman Forever. The soundtrack also featured Method Man’s “The Riddler,” because of the character. Transparency!
The most recent episode of the comedy podcast How Did This Get Made covered the 1999 classic, Deep Blue Sea. They devoted (not nearly enough) time to really get into the best song written from a shark point of view, ever, the LL Cool J song “Deepest Bluest.”
There was also the marriage of hip hop and rock to create some seriously confusing musical moments in other major disaster movie and action blockbusters.
Puff Daddy (as he was still known) sampled Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” to try and match the epic hype of 1998’s Godzilla and unsurprisingly, despite their ambition both the movie and the song fell so flat.
The Fast & Furious series carried on this brave tradition into the 2000s, and we all have that series to thank for bringing even more attention to Limp Bizkit.
In case you wondered if someone was compiling all the soundtracks of the Fast and Furious moments and uploading it all to YouTube, your answer is, of course.
And so, my knowledge of hip-hop has been severely stunted and limited to movies that are best enjoyed in some state of inebriation. I never said that this knowledge base was a particularly good one.