Various artists, “Bad Boys for Life Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (Epic/We the Best Music)
Some soundtracks are as important to their movies as the actors delivering lines on-screen. But the “Bad Boys for Life” soundtrack is less of an unseen character, and more of a mood. And that mood is decidedly “fast-life Miami” — a perfectly adequate sonic backdrop for Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) to chase bad guys all over the Florida city.
The soundtrack features hometown favorites, including Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull, on the Lil Jon-assisted anthem “Damn I Love Miami.” Then there’s Rick Ross alongside Bryson Tiller on “Future Bright,” which samples ‘90s R&B hit “Touch Me, Tease Me” by Case.
Miami’s City Girls steal the spotlight, though, with their song “Money Fight.” “Ain’t no Netflix and chill/Throw 10 bands, let a (chick) know it’s real,” rhymes JT, one-half of the duo. Another standout track comes from out-of-towners Quavo and Rich the Kid on the DJ Durel-produced “Bad Moves.”
In true Miami fashion, the musical influence covers a few different lanes. Buju Banton delivers dancehall flavor on “Murda She Wrote,” and Meek Mill exudes vacation vibes over a Latin-influenced beat on “Uptown II,” featuring Puerto Rican singer Farruko.
Jaden Smith pops up twice on the soundtrack and he’s enjoyable but not groundbreaking: He has a solo song called “The Hottest” and he appears on the club-ready “RITMO (Bad Boys for Life) (Remix),” with The Black Eyed Peas and J Balvin.
Overall, the “Bad Boys for Life” soundtrack does its job — abounding in references to cash, clothes and cars, all set to lively production. And while the set lacks unforgettable lyrics, the upbeat energy is a perfect fit. Sometimes, good enough is good enough.