After many years of anticipation, Ice Cube returns to the role of Craig Jones he made famous in the cult-classic film Friday. The movie's soundtrack, Next Friday, though not as varied a collection as the one that accompanied the first film, is still one of the finest hip-hop film soundtracks in years.
Next Friday's most important cut is the brutal "Chin Check," a song from the then-recently reunited West coast supergroup N.W.A. Featuring original members Ren, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube, as well as Snoop Dogg (in place of the late Eazy-E), "Chin Check" is a surprisingly good gangsta rap vignette, delivered just when people thought the genre had become passe. Pharoahe Monch's "Liven It Up," and Wu-Tang Clan's "Shaolin Worldwide" represent the East Coast with intensity. An early track from Eminem called "Murder Murder" is another standout for its dynamic lyricism and spirited storytelling. Next Friday manages to do more than just capture the spirit of the film -- it offers fine music that can be appreciated on its own.