Photo: Josh Brolin

10 Classic Rap Albums That Could’ve Been Soundtracks to Classic Films

In hip hop, vivid imagery and honest emotion have always been key, resulting in some of the greatest music of all time. As a genre and culture that was born out of sampling and recontextualzing breakbeats, rap has long taken inspiration from sources from the past and present, then translated them into a new form of art. And on some occasions that inspiration has come in the form of film. One of those instances occurred ten years ago, when a previously-retired JAY-Z released his 10th solo studio album, American Gangster, inspired by director Ridley Scott’s 2007 movie of the same name.

American Gangster chronicles the life of Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington) during his time as one of the biggest drug traffickers in New York City, and his arrest and conviction as a result of an investigation led by detective Richie Roberts (played by Russell Crowe). JAY-Z, who is also an alleged former drug trafficker himself, said that after screening the film prior to its release, he was so moved that he created a whole new album based on it, with each song inspired by or representing a scene from the movie. It was an unprecedented move in hip hop, and American Gangster doubled as an unofficial soundtrack to the film, becoming the music that most people now associate with it rather than its actual score.

With the 10th anniversary of American Gangster upon us, we began thinking about other classic rap albums that theoretically could’ve doubled as soundtracks to classic movies. Being that many of the movies nearest and dearest to the hip hop community already have their own rap-dominated soundtracks, we stayed away from those choices. And with that said, some of these pairings may appear odd at first, but upon closer examination, they are sonically and thematically conjoined. Pop some popcorn, turn on the stereo and check how it all syncs up.




Related Posts


50 Cent Raps One of His Favorite Verses–Nas’ “The Message”


50 Cent is Headed to Late-Night Television


50 Cent Finally Does a Remix of Young M.A.’s “Ooouuu”


50 Cent’s Son Disses His Dad On New Track, “Different”


50 Cent is Bringing Three New Shows to Starz


Latest News

nas-rapture Film


Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over