August 2001
Baby Boy : Close but not good enough

Reviewed by Midas

Baby Boy - Close but not good enough

CD Cover for Baby Boy

In an era where there is a belief that groups such as ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys are fresh new concepts in the boy band legacy, we are reminded that originality is more perception than reality. Age often tempers that misconception. As age creeps in we often become nostalgic, musing over days long gone. Rarely does the infamous “younger generation” recognize where samples for the most popular hip-hop song originated. This is the compelling undercurrent surrounding the “Baby Boy” Soundtrack.

The soundtrack is a compilation that adjoins seemingly strange bedfellows. Of course, the union of Snoop Dogg, Tyrese and Mr. Tan is the most prominent and logical cut as two out of three are stars in the film. Snoop’s unique delivery is highlighted again in a cut where he is featured in a song with the Eastsidaz (Crip Hop). As with most soundtracks, the eclectic mix is further highlighted by the soulful sound of Felicia Adams. Adams injects a respite from the signature West Coast hip-hop style that dominates the album and embodies Singleton’s South Central theme. Despite Snoop’s strength, at times, the signature Dub-C sound does become redundant.

However, the greatest disappointment lies in the unfulfilled generational links that seem to bespeak of past music that inspires music today. “Baby Boy” reminds us of Bootsy Collins and Marvin Gaye and their influence in the music we hear today. Collins’ “I’d Rather Be With You” is the track you will set your CD player to repeat for multiple plays. Sadly, there is not enough of this infusion of old and new (where is Kool and the Gang’s Summer Love?). The dialogue between D’Angelo featuring Marlon C and Bootsy Collins is an abberation rather than a staple of this album. If only the album were more honest to the basic tenets of the movie this might be a strong album. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Marketing seems to be the culprit here as rigid adherence to demographics and young audience appeal rules the day. Another opportunity has been missed to educate young music connoisseurs and remind “old heads” that today’s music is not so far from music of yesteryear. In this regard, the “Baby Boy” soundtrack fails to meet the required rite of passage into soundtrack “manhood” despite several strong cuts.


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