The rap songs from the Baby Boy soundtrack will no doubt garner the most attention, but for the most part, the numerous contemporary urban soul songs are what make this such a great album. Laid-back slow jams by D'Angelo, the Transitions, Raphael Saadiq, Felicia Adams, and a Anthony Hamilton/Macy Gray duet are all wonderful, lulling songs filling in the album's gaps. Furthermore, two classics -- Bootsy Collins' "I'd Rather Be With You" and Marvin Gaye's "Just to Keep You Satisfied" -- are welcome additions. Yet as commendable as these numerous soul songs may be for their mood-inducing effects, it's hard to miss the few big-time rap songs functioning as the soundtrack's selling points. In particular, "Just a Baby Boy" -- featuring Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, and Mr. Tan over a Battlecat production -- is yet another of Snoop's forays into R&B territory, with Mr. Tan doing the crooning; the one-time Doggfather seems to have found a new, more dynamic songwriting formula that makes his '90s work seem formative in comparison. Besides the Snoop track, Three 6 Mafia and La Chat's "Baby Mama" is essentially a rewrite of Project Pat's "Chicken Head," a sort of ghetto "Mrs. Jackson" that is a trademark Juicy J/DJ Paul production; BG's "Thatshowegetdown" also stands out, featuring a welcome new sound for Cash Money producer Mannie Fresh; and then there are two more Battlecat productions featuring tha Eastsidaz and Lost Angels, which are both fairly forgettable. It must be stressed again, though, that the numerous slow jams make this album such a success. Sure, the rap artists have the name recognition, but the contemporary urban soul artists are just as talented, as they prove here, even if they're names aren't as familiar. If you can appreciate rap as well as contemporary urban soul, this soundtrack should be a feast for you with its dynamic mix, alternating between interludes of film dialogue, big rap songs, and some smoking slow jams.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier