Various artists, “Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack” (Motown)
The trailer for upcoming film “Queen & Slim” packs a ton — intensity and beauty, flashes of lightheartedness and the strain of heaviness, too. In similar fashion, “Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack” comes bearing plenty of the same, with 16 songs expertly capturing the journey of the film’s lead characters as they go on the run following a traffic stop that ends in the shooting of a police officer.
“Queen & Slim” director Melina Matsoukas — who has won Grammys for directing music videos for Beyoncé and Rihanna — and Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe executive produced the soundtrack, along with Motown Records President Ethiopia Habtemariam. Together they’re like the perfect aux cord DJs. They hit play, and they don’t miss, with a perfect mix of pleasantly surprising old favorites — from Bilal to Mike Jones to Roy Ayers — and fresh new material, too.
There’s the high energy fun: Megan Thee Stallion’s “Ride or Die,” a New Orleans bounce-music track featuring VickeeLo, along with The-Dream’s rocking “Cedes Benz” and the dance-worthy “My Money, My Baby” from Nigerian artist Burna Boy.
Add to that mix a feel-good crop of mellow music: Syd’s extra sexy “Getting Late,” Moses Sumney’s haunting “Doomed” and the sweet “Yo Love” from Vince Staples, 6lack and Mereba. The latter is an anthem perfectly suited for a Bonnie and Clyde love story.
Perhaps the crown jewel is a rare appearance from Ms. Lauryn Hill, whose new song “Guarding the Gates” is enough to bring a tear to her dearest fans’ eyes. “Everybody, everybody wants to know/Where you going to/Cuz they wanna come, or so they think... until they find the cost of it,” Hill testifies in her husky alto. “Til they find out, find out what you lost for it/And I’d do it all ‘cuz I found love.”