The Judgment Night soundtrack, a 1993 experiment teaming rappers and rock bands, turned 25 last week, and we celebrated with an oral history featuring many of its many key players
In one of the soundtrack’s more interesting coulda-beens, executive producer Happy Walters told us that he was rejected by Metallica, whose most recent album, 1991’s Metallica, was already certified six times platinum by the beginning of 1993.
“See, in those days they were like the shit, the shit, right?” said Walters. “They’ve obviously aged, and probably wish they would’ve done it. I don’t even know if it was Metallica. Some of the managers in those days were just dicks.”
Whether or not Metallica wishes they could have been on Judgment Night is up for debate, but they did attempt their own rap-rock crossover in the early 2000s. Released on hitmaking Ruff Ryders producer Swizz Beatz’ 2002 compilation G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, the collaboration with Ja Rule, “We Did It Again,” is but a footnote in the metal band’s monumental catalog.
The song, a repetitive mish-mash of pasted-together riffs, likely constructed while lead singer James Hetfield was in rehab, is, for the most part, correctly forgotten.
However in a set of outtakes from the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster, you can see ideas flowing that may have made this a little more successful: Swizz doing some funky beatbox with the riff and the suggestion that it should be with blood-drenched yeller DMX.
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And, to be fair, some things could have made it a lot worse: Ja Rule smartly declines Lars Ulrch’s suggestion to sing along to James Hetfield’s hook “Never more your whipping boy.”
Anyway, everyone seemed to have had a good time, and even had a laugh when they had to break up a card game in Ja Rule’s studio.
“If this isn’t a fuckin’ rock & roll moment, I don’t know what is,” Ulrich quips.