Drop the Beat / 3 Strikes — Various Artists

By Justin Lee

Other than providing soundtracks for hip-hop based film and television productions, these two discs are as different in content as they come. The soundtrack for the CBC series Drop The Beat–a behind-the-scenes look at a college hip-hop station–is packed with some of the illest MCs in Canada and the us. The album features the higher-conscious rhymes of Choclair, Saukrates, Kardinall Offishall, Maestro, Infinite, as well as American mc’s Common Sense, Canibus and Ja Rule. The music from Drop The Beat manages to portray the same intensity as the series, with tracks like "We Came Wid It," compliments of Maestro and Infinite, and the title cut, executed by Solitair, Saukrates and Michie Mee.

This album is more than just your standard soundtrack; it provides a showcase for some of Canada’s tightest hip-hop artists.

Doing an almost complete 180-degree turn, the soundtrack for 3 Strikes fails to emerge amongst recent hip-hop soundtracks (Next Friday, The Wood) that have been less-than-memorable. After looking at the soundtrack’s all-star line-up, which features e-40, The Eastsidaz (Snoop Dogg’s side project), Sauce Money and Xzibit, you may ask how that’s even possible. Most of these tracks are throw-aways; even a cut from Ras Kass, one of the East’s most prominent lyricists, is disappointing at best.

So let me break it down for you like this: if you’re down to your last $20 and you were thinking about buying one of these two discs, support Canadian hip-hop and pick up Drop The Beat!