The soundtrack for True Crime: Streets of LA is an impressive one in terms of the scope of new material recorded for it. While the game features a lot of licensed material, the first CD the be released (yeah, a second disc is on the way, but with the volume of original songs available, why would you be surprised?) features 20 tracks that are performed for the game by a lot of big-name West Coast rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Warren G. and the Boo Ya Tribe.
Dance Wit Me opens the album up wonderfully with a duet featuring Snoop Dogg and Marvin Gaye. The music is smooth and heavily influenced by Marvin Gaye's own casual style. Their voices seem to work quite well together. To follow this up is Terrorist Threat by West Side Connection (Ice Cube, Mac 10 and WC). If you're a fan of Ice Cube, this track will make you more than happy as he and his cohorts rap effectively overly the slow-paced staccato of the synthesizers and drums.
The range of artists really lend to a good variety of musical styles and rhyme patterns. True Crime Remix by Young Dre, Bishop Lamont, Black & Sixx John has a great pace that brings in a theme that works with being a game soundtrack. Bizzy Bone's Hollywood is a sharp track that uses harmonized vocals to drive the point home in the chorus. Hollywood's use of acoustic guitars and female backup ads some great flavor to Drinks in The Air.
While most ensemble soundtracks often lack a stylistic cohesion because of the numerous acts present, the True Crime Soundtrack benefits from having a large West Coast Hip Hop pantheon to pick from. Also, a number of songs use sound effects and audio themes from the game, which actually does a great job at tying many of the separate artists together. Pomona City Rydaz's Do Time and Can't **** With Us by Big Tray Deee, Short Khop & Threat both borrow sound effects from the game to accent their tracks. Kam's Don't Do The Crime is basically the game's theme song and even directly refers to the game and its ESRB rating in the rap.
I'm thankful that some of the tracks on this album show a good sense of humor when it comes to rhymes as it helps to keep the mood from being too intense. Suga Free's Don't Fight The Pimpin' is laugh-out-loud funny, especially his falsetto chorus. Dee Dimes' They Don't Know is also good for a laugh, not so much that it's intentionally funny, but that the mood of the track is lighter.
I will note that some of the tracks tread on familiar music themes. What U Wanna Do by Warren G sounds like something I've heard Dr. Dre do before. Of course, the rhymes are different, but the familiar music makes me just want to skip the track for something newer. Jay-O-Felony's Thug Night (Let Me See Something) also falls under this same category. None of these tracks are bad, but if you want your hip hop to be a little more dynamic, these tracks may bore you.
If you own the game and loved the music, go out NOW and grab this first disc and then wait patiently for the second disc to come out. If you like West Coast Hip Hop, then give this a sampler of original tracks a try. This album won't convert non-fans into the genre but it is good for those that enjoy it.