Ostensibly a soundtrack to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, Topdog/Underdog is really a brief history of 20th century African American music. Hip-hop, blues, and R&B are duly represented. DMX, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and James Brown check in with some of their most representative tunes (Topdog/Underdog stars Mos Def and Jeffrey Wright also contribute a track each). Of course, the hit-and-run approach doesn't benefit these mostly brilliant tracks. Still, it makes more sense than the average movie soundtrack -- the link between Johnson's "Hell Hound on My Trail" and Wu-Tang's "Let My N****s Live" is not as tenuous as it may seem.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael Gallucci