With the June 1996 release of The Nutty Professor, actor and comedian Eddie Murphy got the “win” his career needed after the critically-panned trio of movies that followed 1992’s Boomerang. The movie was also a score for Def Jam and the several artists who benefited from their inclusion on the film’s urban-flavored soundtrack.
For some, The Nutty Professor Soundtrack served as a springboard to fame – particularly new artist Case, whose “Touch Me, Tease Me” (featuring Mary J. Blige and Foxy Brown) preceded his eponymous album debut. Pre-established rappers like Def Squad (the supergroup consisting of Keith Murray, Redman and Erick Sermon) and Richie Rich (whose “Pillow” featured D’Wayne Wiggins from Tony! Toni! Toné! with an interpolation of their hit “Lay Your Head on My Pillow”) tested the waters for their upcoming Def Jam album premieres.
In contrast, many artists on the 13-track compilation used the soundtrack to extend the life of their current singles. LL Cool J built on the popularity of his 1995 hit “Doin’ It” with the newly packaged “Doin’ It Again.” Newcomers Az Yet won over audiences when “Last Night” was released around Valentine’s Day, while Jay-Z and Foxy Brown’s “Ain’t No N***a” collabo began its run in March. Monica‘s final Miss Thang single “Ain’t Nobody” (featuring Treach) officially dropped a few weeks before the soundtrack. And Montell Jordan‘s “I Like” (featuring a newly freed Slick Rick) was also included on his sophomore album More…, which was released in the later part of the summer.
Contributions from DeVante Swing‘s collective Da Bassment (which included former Swing Mob members), Raekwon, Trigger tha Gambler and others rounded out the soundtrack. Some tracks have clearly held up better than others, and only a handful of the artists are still considered relevant in present day. And when compared to the Boomerang soundtrack…well, let’s not even go there. Still, overall, the album is still an enjoyable listen if for no other reason than its throwback appeal.