Various Artists: Beat the World: The Original Soundtrack

The original You Got Served was released in 2004 to generally poor reviews yet still managed to debut at number 1. Seven years later, the movie has a sequal, You Got Served: Beat the World. The title garnered less than favorable reviews to the point that it went straight to DVD, yet it compiles a star-studded soundtrack.

The movie is about an international dance competition with entrants from around the world. Like the movie plot, the soundtrack also leans on a world feel. The opening track “Hip Hop Nation” pairs the legendary KRS-One with Somali rapper, K’Naan and relatively unknown Dallas singer/songwriter, Lina. The track is big and bombastic, exactly what you would want from a movie’s theme song. The track, like the movie, revolves around the idea of a free world.

Other standout tracks include Sway’s “Infinite Love.” The track pairs the veteran grime artist with Talib Kweli. What makes the track interesting is to hear how two completely different styles attack the same beat. While the traditional hip hop beat probably plays better to Talib Kweli’s strength, Sway manages to employ something between a standard flow and a grime flow on the track.

The other standout track is the soundtrack’s closer, Shad‘s “Keep Shining.” Like K’Naan, Shad is an African-born, Canadian-raised rapper who has the pleasure to work with one of the best beats on the album. “Keep Shining” features luscious strings that sound straight out of a 9th Wonder beat. Lyrically, Shad has a socially conscious flow that talks mostly about the female plight in hip hop from there not being enough female rappers to females being disrespected in rhymes.

The overall social consciousness of the soundtrack is a definite plus. The album is smart without sounding preachy or too bourgeoisie. The big downfall of the album is its length; at only seven songs, it is barely an album and more like an EP. Although the seven songs on the album are of a very good quality, it feels like it still could have used more tracks.

Rating: 7.5/10