Various Artists

True Crime: Streets of LA - The Soundtrack

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As the video game industry grows by leaps and bounds, the role of video game background music has grown as well, to the point where video game soundtracks can have as much scope -- and sell just as well -- as the soundtracks to movies. Creatively speaking, the massive multi-disc soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City remains the gold standard for what can be accomplished in video game soundtracks, but True Crime is still something of an achievement when it comes to gathering popular music in support of a video game. The soundtrack features previously unreleased cuts from rap artists such as Boo-Ya T.R.I.B.E., Westside Connection, Bizzy Bone, and Snoop Dogg, whose "Dance Wit Me" leads off the album. Sampling Marvin Gaye's "Far Cry," the track also plays like an update of classic blaxploitation music by the likes of Curtis Mayfield. Considering that Snoop is fairly involved in the game -- the soundtrack includes the code to unlock "Snoop's World" in True Crime -- it's not surprising that his track is not only the first, but among the best on the album. Still, there are enough worthwhile tracks here that rap fans who aren't gamers could still enjoy the album. Westside Connection's "Terrorist Threat" is hard-hitting and to the point; Warren G & RBX's "What U Wanna Do" has a more stoned, gangsta vibe; and Young Dre, Bishop Lamont, Black & Sixx John's "True Crime Remix [The New West Edition]" has the relentless intensity befitting a game that combines nonstop hand-to-hand combat, racing, and gunplay action. Bizzy Bone's "Hollywood," Boo-Ya T.R.I.B.E.'s "Legends," Sly Boogy's "Flow," and Stylistik's "Cali Folks" also add to True Crime's urban underworld atmosphere. It's not a perfect soundtrack, but True Crime is entertaining enough to please gaming and non-gaming rap fans alike.

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