In recent years, soundtracks have become increasingly important to the marketing of films; in a few cases, such as the Boomerang soundtrack or that of The Bodyguard, they’ve even outlasted the film’s theatrical run. That will probably be the case with the upcoming soundtrack to Judgment Night, a Largo/Universal film to be released later this year about a carful of yuppies who turn off the highway into the wrong part of town, where they witness a gang murder.
In a twist on the expected stereotype, the terrified yuppies are black and Hispanic, and the fearsome gang is white. One of the hoods is played by Everlast, frontman for the Irish rap group House of Pain, which also contributes the first song on the extraordinary Judgment Night soundtrack. Entitled “Just Another Victim,” it’s a collaboration with the thrash-metal unit Helmet, and it’s followed by a number of equally astonishing joint efforts, including Biohazard with Onyx, Teenage Fanclub with De la Soul, Living Colour with Run-D.M.C., Slayer with Ice-T and several more.
Of course, the idea of matching up rappers with rockers is not entirely new; Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith did it in 1986 with “Walk This Way,” and Public Enemy joined up with Anthrax in 1991 for a version of “Bring the Noise.” But somehow the concept of musical miscegenation between the two most urgent forms of youth culture music has remained a largely unexploited source of creative exchange.
“Hopefully, this will open up more opportunities for groups like mine to tour with Metallica and Guns n’ Roses,” says Samoan Godfather of Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., who jammed with Faith No More for “Another Body Murdered.” “And it gives us a little edge on the rap scene. Our scene is, we always try to make our own music and then loop it.”
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It is largely due to the initiative of Happy Walters, the 25-year-old manager of Cypress Hill and House of Pain, that so many leading hip-hop and alternative rock artists were assembled for the soundtrack. The album, which will be released through Walters’ own Immortal Records (distributed by Epic), also includes two cuts by Cypress Hill, “Real Thing,” with Pearl Jam, and “I Love You Mary Jane,” with Sonic Youth.
“We listen to that kind of music anyway,” says Cypress’ B-Real, “so it wasn’t hard to click with them. The stuff I listen to mostly is classic rock stuff, though.”
“The Pearl Jam shit is dope because we put hard B-boy rhymes on top of some heavy-metal-sounding shit,” adds Sen Dog. “We were talking real street shit like we always do.”
Del tha Funkee Homosapien, who rhymes over tracks by Dinosaur Jr. on “Missing Link,” views the experience as a novelty: “It’s cool, but it’s some alternative shit. I doubt that it’s the future of rap.”
Most of the artists involved view it as a natural collection of talent that’s been a long time coming. “I was wondering when we’d bring rap and rock together in a big way,” says Sir Mix-a-Lot, who raps over Mudhoney‘s grunge on “Freak Mama,” “because the fans are a lot alike. I was nervous going into the studio. It’s something I’ve never done; there I was with a dude on guitar, bass and a motherfucker on drums – that was strange as fuck to me, man, it was very new.”
This story is from the August 19th, 1993 issue of Rolling Stone.