20 Best Soundtracks From Classic Black Films

Juice, The Bodyguard, Paid In Full

Photo: Geffen Records/Arista Records/UMG Recordings

When you think of classic Black films, you can't help but also think of the soundtracks that accompanied them. Movies like Above The Rim (1992), Waiting To Exhale (1995), and Bad Boys II (2003) all had remarkable soundtracks full of timeless music that was featured in the film or was inspired by it.

Over the past three decades, some of the best acts in the music industry have blessed us with the most iconic music that was inspired by your favorite movies. Legendary musicians like Stevie Wonder, Teddy Riley, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston have all contributed to stellar soundtracks during their hay days. Meanwhile, rappers like JAY-Z, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube have also curated entire soundtracks for some of the most memorable Black films in Hollywood.

While we've already shared 10 of the Greatest Black Movie Soundtracks of the 2010s, in honor of Black Music Month, we’re honoring the classic soundtracks inspired by some of the best Black films ever made.

New Jack City

Photo: Giant/Reprise Records

New Jack City (1991)

Stand Out Track(s): “For The Love of Money/Living For The City” Troop/Levert & Queen Latifah, “New Jack Hustler (Nino’s Theme)” Ice-T

Featured Artists: Johnny Gill, Christopher Williams, Guy, Keith Sweat, 2 Live Crew, Essence, Color Me Badd


Photo: Geffen Records

Juice (1991)

Stand Out Track(s): “Know The Ledge” Eric B. & Rakim

Featured Artists: Teddy Riley, Naughty By Nature, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Cypress Hill, Too $hort, Salt-N-Pepa

Above The Rim

Photo: Death Row/Interscope Records

Above The Rim (1992)

Stand Out Track(s): “Regulate” Warren G & Nate Dogg, “Pour Out a Little Liquor” 2Pac & Thug Life

Featured Artists: SWV, Snoop Dogg, The Lady of Rage, Al B Sure!, Jewell, Tha Dogg Pound

The Bodyguard

Photo: Arista Records

The Bodyguard (1992)

Stand Out Track(s): “I Will Always Love You” Whitney Houston

Featured Artists: Whitney Houston, The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M., Aaron Neville

Deep Cover

Photo: SOLAR Records

Deep Cover (1992)

Stand Out Track(s): “Deep Cover” Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

Featured Artists: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Jewell, Shabba Ranks

Poetic Justice

Photo: Epic Soundtrax/Sony

Poetic Justice (1993)

Stand Out Track(s): “Indo Smoke” Mista Grimm ft. Warren G & Nate Dogg, “One in a Million” Pete Rock & CL Smooth, “Call Me A Mack” Usher

Featured Artists: TLC, Babyface, Naughty By Nature, 2Pac, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Stevie Wonder

Menace II Society

Photo: Jive Records

Menace II Society (1993)

Stand Out Tracks: “Only The Strong Survive” Too $hort, “Pocket Full of Stones” UGK, “Straight up Menace” MC Eiht

Featured Artists: Brand Nubian, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Boogie Down Productions, Spice 1 

Waiting to Exhale

Photo: Arista Records

Waiting To Exhale (1995)

Stand Out Track(s): "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" Whitney Houston, “Sitting Up In My Room” Brandy, “Not Gon Cry” Mary J. Blige

Featured Artists: Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin, TLC, Chaka Khan, SWV, Babyface, Patti LaBelle, Faith Evans, CeCe Winans

Space Jam

Photo: Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records

Space Jam (1995)

Stand Out Track(s): “Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem)" B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J and Method Man, “For You I Will” Monica

Featured Artists: JAY-Z, Quad City DJ’s, Seal, D’Angelo, Salt-N-Pepa, Barry White, Biz Markie


Photo: Priority Records

Friday (1995)

Stand Out Track(s): “Friday” Ice Cube, “Keep Their Heads Ringin” Dr. Dre

Featured Artists: Scarface, Mack 10, The Isley Brothers, Rick James, Bootsy Collins, 2 Live Crew


Photo: Def Jam Recordings

Belly (1998)

Stand Out Track(s): “Top Shotter” DMX, Sean Paul, Mr. Vegas, “Devil’s Pie” D’Angelo

Featured Artists: Nas, Method Man, Ja Rule, Noreaga, JAY-Z, Mya, Wu-Tang Clan, Sauce Money, Gang Starr

Next Friday

Photo: Priority Records

Next Friday (1999)

Stand Out Track(s): “You Can Do It” Ice Cube, “I Don’t Wanna” Aaliyah, “Fried Day” Bizzy Bone

Featured Artists: N.W.A., Vita, Ja Rule, Big Tymers, Lil Wayne, Mack 10, Snoop Dogg, Pharoahe Monch, Lil’ Zane, Wu-Tang Clan 

Baby Boy

Photo: UMG Recordings

Baby Boy (2001)

Stand Out Track(s): “Just A Baby Boy” Snoop Dogg ft. Tyrese & Mr. Tan, “Just A Man” Raphael Saadiq

Featured Artists: Three 6 Mafia, Bootsy Collins, Anthony Hamilton, Macy Gray, B.G., Baby

How High

Photo: Def Jam Recordings

How High (2001)

Stand Out Track(s): “Part II” Method Man and Redman, “Da Rockwilder” Method Man and Redman, “Round And Round (Remix)” Jonell

Featured Artists: DMX, Ludacris, Shawnna, Mary J. Blige, Cypress Hill

Paid In Full

Photo: UMG Recordings

Paid in Full (2002)

Stand Out Track(s): “Champions” Damon Dash, Kanye West, Beanie Sigel, Cam'Ron, Young Chris, Twista, DJ Clue, “I’m Ready” Cam’Ron ft Jim Jones & Juelz Santana

Featured Artists: Eric B & Rakim, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, JAY-Z, Freeway, Memphis Bleek, M.O.P., Peedi Crakk

Bad Boys II

Photo: Bad Boy Records

Bad Boys II (2003)

Stand Out Track(s): “Shake Ya Tailfeather” Diddy, Nelly & Murphy Lee, “La La La” JAY-Z, “Didn’t Mean” Mary J. Blige

Featured Artists: Dre, 50 Cent, The Notorious B.I.G., Loon, Snoop Dogg, Foxy Brown, Mario Winans, Beyonce, Freeway, Lenny Kravitz, M.O.P.

Hustle & Flow

Photo: Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records

Hustle & Flow (2005)

Stand Out Track(s): “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” Terrence Howard & Taraji P. Hensen, “I’m a King (Remix)” P$C ft. T.I. & Lil Scrappy, “Bad B***h” Webbie & Trina

Featured Artists: 8Ball & MJG, Trillville, E-40, Juvenile, Mike Jones, Boosie Badazz, Nicole Wray

American Gangster

Photo: Roc-A-Fella Records

American Gangster (2007)

Stand Out Track(s): “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)” JAY-Z, “Ignorant S**t” JAY-Z ft Beanie Sigel

Featured Artists: Lil Wayne, Nas


Photo: Aftermath/Interscope Records

Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre (2015)

Stand Out Track(s): “All in a Day's Work" Dr. Dre ft. Anderson .Paak and Marsha Ambrosius, "Deep Water" Dr. Dre ft Kendrick Lamar, Justus and Anderson .Paak, "For the Love of Money" Dr. Dre ft. Jill Scott, Jon Connor and Anderson .Paak

Featured Artists: BJ The Chicago Kid, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Xzibit

The Harder They Fall

Photo: Roc Nation

The Harder They Fall (2021)

Stand Out Track(s): “Guns Go Bang” Kid Cudi & JAY-Z, “Black Woman” Fatoumata Diawara & Ms. Lauryn Hill

Featured Artists: CeeLo Green, Seal, Jadakiss, Conway The Machine, Koffee 

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