Artist: VariousTitle: Barbershop 2 SoundtrackRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Boudreaux the Love Child
Nowadays soundtrack albums are exercises that focus on a labels self-promotion rather than relevance to the film it is associated with. So in that regard, The Barbershop 2: Back in Business Soundtrack is not expected to have much to do with its namesake, although rapper come actress Eve does make a couple of cameos. The result is an erratic album, equal parts bang and bust.
The album is a reflection of hip-hops current R&B infused state. Not of the rhythm and blues variety but of the De La Soul coined Rap & Bullshit brew. For example, Myas Fallen gets the remix treatment with an all-new percussion heavy track and a verse from Chingy. Keyshia Cole Never featuring Eve is listenable since it relies on heavily jacking Luther Vandross song Never Too Much. Even the straight hip-hop stumbles; the Mobb Deep track One of Ours is a yawner and so is their indirect gun talk progeny G-Units contribution Unconditional.
But not all Hip-Hop/R&B hybrids are bad because when done right, as is the case when Floetry teams with Mos Def on the funky Wanna Be Where U Are, its a refreshing mix. Produced by Organized Noise, the albums best jam is Sleepy Browns I Cant Wait which features OutKast (Andre is rapping) on an atmospheric groove accented by frenzied synths. Other tracks worth noting include Showtimes The Next Episode battle winner Spitfiyas Make It Home, and the straight soul of Avant and Keke Wyatt singing the Ashford & Simpson penned Precious Love.
D-12 does manage to stay on topic with Barbershop but overall the Barbershop 2: Back in Business Soundtrack is a glamorized mixtape. If a radio jock where to play this album on the air and overdub some commercials, the listening audience would be hard pressed to discern the difference from the days playlist. Thats not necessarily a bad thing but not as fresh (insert groan here) as a fade.