As 2018 showed with films like Black Panther, Creed II, and Into the Spider-Verse, no blockbuster movie is complete without an accompanying soundtrack. Far from being simply a cash grab to run off the fumes of a successful film, the best film soundtracks embody the themes, characters, and stories of their respective movies and go deeper, transforming the cinematic journey into a listening experience.
Apart from Lecrae (who has received placements in Birth of a Nation, The Shack, and most recently Superfly) Christian rap artists are usually egregiously shunned from appearing on film soundtracks. With a number of blockbusters already released within the past two months and many more on the way, here are films that could benefit from a collection of original music curated by CHH artists.
Alita: Battle Angel–February 15th
Artist(s) to curate: Aha Gazelle & nobigdyl.
Featured guests: Eric Heron, WHATUPRG
Producer(s): OnBeatMusic, PoetiCs
This James Cameron produced film is based off an anime and manga series called Gunnm and no two artists have shown their love for anime as much as Aha Gazelle and nobigdyl. From overt shoutouts to more subtle and conceptual inspirations, both have been vocal on and off the mic about anime’s influence on their music.
Demonstrated by their quirky yet nonetheless hard-hitting wordplay, both know how to craft music that matches Alita: Battle Angel’s over the top visuals and action sequences with perhaps its more eccentric elements (see: a gladiatorial death sport called motorball). Plus it fulfills dyl.’s Christmas wish so there’s one plus. WHATUPRG and Eric Heron also namedrop anime in their tracks and make natural collaborators.
Artist(s) to curate: Christon Gray
Featured guests: J. Monty, Taelor Gray
Producer(s): Swoope, Weathrman
Thematically, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out differs from its predecessor in that it deals with the confrontation of one’s inner demons and evil thoughts that exist within all. Who better to rap and croon on the subject than Christon Gray himself (he literally released an album called Even With Evil With Me)?
Gray has always been honest about his struggles and bled his heart and soul on deep cuts like You & I (Samson’s Lament). Whether he’s talking about wrestling with addiction or going through a divorce, he’s tried to reconcile the reality of darkness and the hope of light within himself.
Where Christon is, his bro Taelor is probably not too far behind. Swoope and Weathrman are the perfect producers to make spectral, haunting, and minimalist beats (in vain with the trailer music) that could really let Christon’s vocals shine.
J. Monty’s Testify series he’s been doing on his Instagram is introspective and trenchant and I can see him and Chris could go bar for bar on a track acting either as the angel or devil on one’s shoulder.
Avengers: Endgame–April 26th
Artist(s) to curate: Reflection Music Group (Derek Minor, Canon, Tony Tillman, & Deraj)
Featured guests: RMG Amplify (Reconcile, Roy Tosh, Brvdon P, Mission, Beacon Light, Sada K.) & indie Tribe (nobigdyl., WHATUPRG, Mogli the Iceberg, and Jerry Manna)
Producer(s): Cardec, Derek Minor, OnBeatMusic
There can be a lot of debate on who the biggest “supergroup” is in the CHH community, but RMG takes the cake for the clever and organic way that it has expanded its brand (which bears a striking similarity to how the Avengers develop as well).
In 2017 Doc Watson and Derek Minor launched RMG Amplify, a division which provides marketing support to established independent artists. Soon, big names like Reconcile & Brvndon P. joined the movement while up and comers like Beacon Light and Sada K. followed suit not too long after. RMG has also always maintained a close friendship with indie tribe. (in part but not in whole due to nobigdyl. and Derek Minor’s history).
As Earth’s Mightiest Heroes get ready to avenge their fallen comrades in Endgame, it’s all hands on deck and a soundtrack should manifest the themes of unity and diversity. It should also slap harder than any film soundtrack come before it which makes Cardec, Derek, and OnBeat necessary on production.
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum–May 16th
Artist(s) to curate: NF
Featured guests: Andy Mineo, Ty Brasel
Producer(s): Alex Medina, Joseph Prielozny, Tommee Profitt
The number of ways that NF has talked about “killing the game, track and/or beat” are as diverse as they are creative, that by album 6 I feel like he’ll have exhausted his proverbial arsenal. Case in point: NF’s aggressive, kinetic, and belligerent energy are right at home in a soundtrack for John Wick.
Andy Mineo and Ty Brasel likewise can both boast a discography of turn-up records (You Can’t Stop Me & Ali) that match the absurdity of the films themselves. Frequent collaborator Tommee Profitt is a logical choice to join NF as does Alex Medina and Joseph Prielozny, who have produced many of Andy’s biggest hits (and are anthem makers in their own right).
Spider-Man: Far From Home–July 5th
Artist(s) to curate: Aaron Cole
Featured guests: Kaleb Mitchell, Jaylon Ashaun, Zauntee
Producer(s): Cole Walowac
Tracing Cole’s musical catalog you’ll probably wonder why Disney and Sony haven’t hit him up for a soundtrack ever since Tobey Maguire donned the spandex. He truly is the lyrical embodiment of Spider-Man.
What are some key characteristics of the wall-crawler? He tries to balance school and his superhero persona, is an underdog who always overcomes, and has a great relationship with those above him.
One of Cole’s earliest projects was called 4th Period. He featured on a song of Roy Tosh’s called “Underdog,” and don’t tell me you don’t get Tony-Peter vibes from his mentor/mentee dynamic with tobyMac. But Cole’s come a long way even within the past year and never lets people’s expectations or criticism get to him.
Cole Walowac produces many of Cole’s singles and has proven time and time again to adapt to what Aaron’s versatility. Kaleb Mitchell and Zauntee would make for great yet zany collabs while for selfish reasons I’m hoping Cole and Jaylon link up to make a love ballad that rivals Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower.”
Adopted from Rapzilla.