It's clear why this soundtrack for the film Friday, an urban comedy starring hip-hop superstar Ice Cube (who co-wrote and coproduced the film and produced the album), recently nabbed the No. 1 and 2 spots on Billboard's R&B and pop charts respectively.
Two-thirds of the record features some of hip hop's best-known rappers performing impressive new material, like Dr. Dre's infectious "Keep Their Heads Ringin' " and Scarface's nasty but well-crafted "Friday Night." The middle third of the album shrewdly contains four R&B pearls: "Tryin' to See Another Day," a soulful ditty by the Isley Brothers; "You Got Me Wide Open," a sensual ballad by Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell; "Mary Jane," the funkiest ode to marijuana ever recorded, by Rick James; and "I Wanna Get next to You," a touching love song, worthy of the early Temptations, by Rose Royce.
Unfortunately, not all of Friday is as flawless as that wonderful R&B interlude. Some of the rap cuts, such as Funkdoobiest's "Superhoes" and Cypress Hill's "Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up," are expendable, as is a senseless techno cover of the Motown classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," by Roger.
Still, at its best, the album is an arresting amalgam of disparate genres. As it filters out of boom boxes this summer, it might even inspire some listeners to declare, "TGIFriday." (Priority)