Halle Berry‘s directorial debut Bruised — “a triumphant sports drama about a fighter who reclaims her power, in and out of the ring, when everyone has counted her out” — hits Netflix this Wednesday (11/24). Berry stars in the lead role of Jackie Justice, and she also executive produced the soundtrack along with Cardi B, which is out today. I haven’t seen the film yet, but the soundtrack stands on its own as one of the year’s most significant releases. Here are five reasons why:
1. It puts a much-deserved spotlight on women in rap (and two R&B singers)
In addition to including the second new Cardi B song of 2021 (“Bet It”), Bruised also features new tracks by fellow rappers Saweetie, Latto, City Girls, Young M.A, Baby Tate, Flo Milli, Rapsody, Erica Banks, Big Bottle Wyanna, and DreamDoll, plus R&B singers H.E.R. and Ambré. The typically-male-dominated world of hip hop has been making more and more room for women over the past few years, but this may very well be the first major compilation to put a spotlight on this many fantastic female rappers at once.
2. The songs are the real deal
And as far as soundtrack albums go, this is an especially good one. All but two of the songs are exclusive to this soundtrack, and none of them feel overly cinematic or written just to fit in with the film. These songs are on par with the material these artists are already best known for.
3. It’s a good source of discovery
The Bruised soundtrack has some big names but like any good comp, it seems like it’ll end up being a source of discovery too. Maybe Cardi or Saweetie or City Girls will draw you in, but you’ll walk away with Minneapolis newcomer Big Bottle Wyanna’s “Aye” stuck in your head.
4. It has a wide range of artists
It’s not just the massive Cardi and radio-friendly rising stars like Saweetie and Flo Milli; it puts a spotlight on underground heroes like Young M.A and Rapsody too, giving those artists a much-deserved platform within a rap mainstream that often ignores them.
5. The soundtrack challenges the notion of pop-rap
Though a handful of these artists are indeed on the radio and the charts, there’s not really anything “pop” about this soundtrack. Everybody seems to be going their hardest, offering up the kind of loud, tough, direct rap that dominated the genre in the ’90s and early 2000s. Bruised may look like a typical big mainstream rap soundtrack on the surface, but dig in and you’ll find a lot more depth.
Stream the whole thing, and watch the videos for two of the songs and the trailer, below…