Since Life stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, it shouldn't be surprising that its soundtrack is a collection of hip-hop and urban soul. It may be a little disingenuous, since the film is set in the depression, but a collection of hot dance music isn't going to sell records. That said, Music Inspired by the Motion Picture "Life" (the "inspired by" tag is one of the great escape hatches for record companies in the '90s) is a very good collection -- one of the better soundtrack-type records of 1999. Its success is due to the presence of R. Kelly and Wyclef Jean, the two masterminds behind the majority of the soundtrack. Each follows their natural inclinations, turning out smooth urban soul and funky, eclectic hip-hop in turn. Fortunately, they're both working with a strong roster of artists, including Xzibit, Juvenile, DJ Quik, Destiny's Child, Maxwell, Talent, Vox and even Kenny G, who contributes a totally plausible cameo on Wyclef's "New Day." Trisha Yearwood's country ballad "Follow the Wind" might stick out like a sore thumb, but in its own way, it's every bit as good as the rest of the record. Sure, Life is a bit messy -- that's the nature of soundtracks, even "Music Inspired By" soundtracks. This time around, the mess is appealing, and that's saying quite a lot.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine