Today's installment of Scenes (Songs) We Love is going to give us two for the price of one, because in the opening scene of Hype William's crime fable Belly, you not only get a slick credit sequence (and a possible contender for Credits Report), but a perfect example of how the right song and visual combination can instantly draw you in. I love a movie opening that sets the tone for what's to come, and the opening heist set to an a cappella version of Soul II Soul's "Back to Life" gets you ready for one of the slickest crime flicks in film history .
Belly was written by Williams along with his star, the rapper Nas, and the rest of the cast included other musical big names like T-Boz from TLC, DMX, Method Man and Vita, and the dancehall artist, Louie Rankin. The story revolved around a pair of childhood friends, Tommy and Sincere, played by DMX and Nas respectively -- and while Sincere starts to question his life of crime, Tommy just falls in deeper and deeper with a Jamaican drug lord.
The film is stylized within an inch of its life, and that's what I love about it. Williams made his name by changing the way the world looked at hip-hop videos and considering this was his first stab at a big-screen feature, I admire the fact he went all out. So sure, maybe the plot does lose its thread towards the end with a new storyline about government conspiracies and assassinations, but as urban crime stories go, this is easily one of the best.
After the jump: "I sold my soul to the devil, huh, the price was cheap..."
Unfortunately Belly is one of those movies that had stellar music throughout the film, but very few of those songs made it onto the soundtrack (don't you hate when that happens?). Luckily through my obsessive nature and the iTunes store I've managed to track down most of these songs, but Back to Life remains at large.
Warning: this clip has the trifecta of NSFW: foul language, nudity, and violence