Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sip The Juice, I Got Enough To Go Around

I gave Juice (Ernest Dickerson,1992) another watch the other night. In fact I realised I hadn't seen it since I first rented the video back in the early 90's.

The clothes have invariably dated as well as the hairstyles although if you look past this then it's still a good enough film.

The soundtrack is absolute killer. Have a look at the tracklist to refresh your memory.

1. Uptown Anthem - Naughty By Nature
2. Juice (Know The Ledge) - Eric B. & Rakim
3. Is It Good To You feat. Tammy Lucas - Teddy Riley
4. Sex, Money & Murder - MC Pooh
5. Nuff' Respect - Big Daddy Kane
6. So You Want To Be A Gangster - Too Short
7. It's Going Down - EPMD
8. Don't Be Afraid - Aaron Hall
9. He's Gamin' On Ya - Salt & Pepa
10. Shoot 'Em Up - Cypress Hill Crew
11. Flipside - Juvenile Committee
12. What Could Be Better Bitch - Son of Bazerk
13. Does Your Man Know About Me - Rahiem
14. People Get Ready (Remix) - The Brand New Heavies featuring N'Dea Davenport

The first track on the album is Uptown Anthem by Naughty By Nature which incidentally actually features over the end credits, brilliantly I might add.
And the inclusion of undoubtedly one of the contenders of Best Hip Hop Songs Ever as it's title theme, Juice by Eric B & Rakim just lifts the album into the stratosphere. This is such a great song with intelligent lyrics telling the story of a young man and his untimely death in the depressing streets.

Even Big Daddy Kane gets in on the act with the uptempo Nuff' Respect which although not lyrically his best is still a great floorfiller and gives the film a sense of urgency especially compared to slower numbers from MC Pooh and Too $hort.

Let me think, what other musical genre was popular back in 1992... New Jack Swing!
Swing Beat was assaulting our ears around the time of the film's release but was by no means a new music - remember Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing had a Teddy Riley track snuggled in the soundtrack ('My Fantasy').  Teddy's back again with Is It Good To You featuring Tammy Lucas and you might remember this was heard as the crew rolled into the record shop. And who can forget the female shop assistant...

Have a look at the scene with the guy doing a stick-up in the bar and you'll see a blink-and-you'll-miss-em EPMD acting like bar-flies at the end. They also contribute It's Going Down which is a nice mid-tempo jammy.

And who can forget Aaron Hall's warblings during the obligatory love scene?
Oh yes, when Q (Omar Epps) and his girl are getting their love-thang on, the smooth vocals and not entirely smooth beat of Don't Be Afraid comes floating on. A great song with a rather dodgy paedo-like title.

I have to say the dj scenes are especially well done and Omar Epps could almost be doing them for real instead of acting them. There are a few odd scenes with dj's cutting up different snatches of songs in quick succession - these are the days before Serato remember - when you know that they are just using LL's Mama Said album and then Troublefunk's Pump Me Up comes on.
But I'm talking from an anorak point of view and otherwise it looks like they've all done their homework.

  There are a number of celebrity cameos throughout the film as well as the aforementioned EPMD such as Special Ed, Queen Latifah, Red Alert, 3rd Bass' DJ Richie Rich and the ubiquitous Fab 5 Freddy which makes the viewing experience a little bit more enriching. Just think, could hip hop make a film like this nowadays and have modern-day hip hop cameos?

The always-entertaining Samuel L Jackson has a bit part - this was back in the days when he was just a bit-part actor playing junkies ('Jungle Fever') or baddies ('Coming To America') - although he plays a relatively normal character in Juice, albeit a bit slimey.

I haven't even mentioned Tupac yet.
Whilst not being a fan of his music - or his films really come to think of it - he really does seem to own the whole piece and posesses a real, raw screen presence which bursts through whichever scene he is in.
Tupac plays Bishop who always seems to be up for a fight and comes up with the idea of robbing the local bodega, introducing a gun into play.
His prophetic death at the film's closing scene certainly made me feel uneasy as it was now being viewed after Pac's passing - which hadn't happened upon my previous viewing.

In closing, it's still a worthwhile film even though some of the swingbeat tracks and fashion generally date it somewhat.

Some more shots from the film.

And this one for the anoraks. The disc is 'Sound Effects Volume 4' from Valentino Inc. It's a sound effects record that Q uses in the film

And I put this one up as it reminds me of my own teenage bedroom - well 21-year old bedroom anyway - at the time of the film's release.

The Soundtrack in superb 320kbps (131Mb)

The DVD (990Mb)


Anonymous said...

I was reading this thinking, I'll have to get a copy of this for old times sake....scrolling down and there you go.
thanks a lot

REPO136 said...

No problem, Deathop.
Enjoy ;-)

Jaz said...

Great post, I haven't seen the movie in a while but always loved the soundtrack...and EPMD-It's Going Down with it's hard Mountain-Long Red and Billy Squire-Big Beat drums and Marvin Gaye one of my all time faves from the legendary duo.

Leeroy B said...

Any idea who acted Gee Q's demo practice scene in his room?

The Kool Skool said...

Hey man, love the blog! Uptown Anthem is definitely the best NBN song ever! I went full geek mode in 09'
All the best Peace

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