Posse director and star Mario Van Peebles uses the film's soundtrack to augment the righteous themes of his 1993 revisionist Western about a wronged black cowboy drawn back to defend his hometown against a slew of evildoers. Accompanied by his band of both black and white cowboys, he seeks vengeance and justice. Similarly, the soundtrack's combination of black and white artists matches the film's mix of classic Western homage and populist melodrama. Mixing spaghetti-Western "oo-ee-oo-ee-ooos" with urban beats and righteous raps, the album sets up the movie's premise that the American West was full of black citizens/cowboys, families, and soldiers who helped settle the land and make the law. Mario Van Peebles' father, Melvin Van Peebles, a maverick black filmmaker in the 1970s and a co-star in the film, contributes some old-school liberation poetry to the cause with "Cruel Jim Crow (Posse Don't Play That)." Film co-star Tone Loc (rapper Big Daddy Kane is also in the film) takes contemporary hip-hop tracks and helps the soundtrack's producers make the connection between the Wild West and today's urban frontiers. Crews are crews, according to this record, and the consequences of being left out of society are spelled out on both fronts, particularly Top Choice Clique's "I Think to Myself" and Intelligent Hoodlum's "The Posse (Shoot 'Em Up)." The more adventuresome music used in the film is also included here. Sounds of Blackness, who contributed significantly to the film's score, raise the roof with the traditional gospel artistry of "Freemanville (Homecoming)," and the Neville Brothers come along for the ride with "Let That Hammer Fall." Pop folksters David & David focus on injustices with the beautiful "Free at Last." A few other tracks provide a curious mix of R&B love songs, new age, and acoustic guitar, and though well-produced, they ultimately seem out of step with thematic hip-hop ties or the musical ties of gospel-influenced music that bring together the film and the music.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Theresa E. LaVeck