By Amanda Marcotte

The Judgment Night Soundtrack Was the Absolute Peak of a Messy Genre

Rap-rock: Few other two-word phrases from the ‘90s send such chills down the spine, especially for those of us who were around to remember Fred Durst’s face on live television. It was the sexist soundtrack for the life of every dude with a barbed wire armband tattoo.

Before then, there was a flash of hope that rock music and hip-hop could be blended together, reminiscent of the early promise of “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith and Run DMC. A moment when a terrible movie starring the “I’m An Asshole” guy managed to snag some of the best acts in both hip-hop and alternative rock to cut sides together. Some are, there is no shame in admitting, legitimate bangers. 

Yes, I’m talking about the Judgment Night soundtrack. Besmirched by all rap-rock that came after it, but a true testament to those innocent days when Sonic Youth could smoke weed with Cypress Hill and record a song that is pretty damn fun. 

I bought the Judgment Night soundtrack when it was released in my junior year of high school mainly because I was a Sonic Youth fan who wanted to hear “I Love You, Mary Jane.” It’s a pretty good song! But that CD was worth my $15 because there were, like, many excellent tunes on it. 

My favorite — maybe everyone’s? — is “Fallin’” by the perfectly matched Scottish power pop band Teenage Fanclub and the biggest hippies in hip-hop, De La Soul. “Traveling at the speed of love. Da do do do do.” Faith No More should have worked with more rappers, because they kill it on “Another Body Murdered” with Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. The title track, with Biohazard and Onyx, still gets the juices up. Even House of Pain is made cooler, simply by being backed by Helmet. 

But, as someone who has a touch of the metalhead in her dark goth heart, I have to say that the song that especially holds up is Slayer and Ice-T collaborating on “Disorder.” It shreds. It’s loud. It makes me want to kick in walls. Maybe it’s just because I use it on workout mixes, because I’m a middle-aged lady. But still. *flashes devil horns*

In sum, fuck Limp Bizkit. There was a moment when rap-rock wasn’t an embarrassment, and they took it from us. But I still put this record on and smile: “Hey kids, what's up/Remember when I used to be dope.” Yes, rap-rock. I do remember when you used to be dope.