Although Black and White's plot line concerned the clash of black and white cultures, producers Raekwon and Oli Grant thankfully didn't attempt to mirror this effect on the soundtrack, as this probably would have resulted in an inferior version of the classic Judgment Night. Everlast, who as a member of House of Pain teamed with Helmet on that 1993 record to deliver one of the best rap/rock hybrids ever in "Just Another Victim," takes a shot at the now-popular genre's leading man, Fred Durst, by rapping, I'm sick of all these fake rock b-boys who think they're down/Cuz they got a tattoo and turn their hat 'round over a smooth beat that comes courtesy of the Alkoholiks' E-Swift.
There are a few crossover attempts -- Korn's Jonathan Davis adds little to Xzibit's "Year 2000," while Queen Pen's "You'll Never Be Better Than Me" delivers lyrical boasts that its lackluster rap/rock backdrop can't support -- but mostly this record is about underground sounds and awesome pairings, as the scratch-happy DJ collective X-Ecutioners team up with the late Big Pun and esteemed veteran Kool G Rap. Raekwon, also one of the film's stars, shines on his two contributions, "It's Not a Game" and the mesmerizing "Wake Up." The politically conscious Dead Prez drop knowledge alongside Stephen Marley on "Dem Crazy," but the real reggae flavor flows on "You," a jaw-dropping collaboration between Mos Def and Samuel Christian.
The album ends with a whimper, with two ballads that were understandable inclusions given their role in the film's romantic interludes but seem immensely sappier coming on the heels of such thuggish tracks as Chip Banks' "Stand for Something." Still, up until that point Black and White ranks with Ghost Dog as the year's finest hip-hop soundtrack, and tunes from this album will be blasting out of area speakers long after the film appears, with little avail, in video stores.