By David Browne
June 27, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

As inevitable as tie-in toys and just as disposable, blockbuster soundtrack albums are now merely part of the Hollywood marketing grind. That view, while justified, still sells these records short. Movie soundtracks have become useful educational tools for all facets of the entertainment business — not to mention for life in general! For instance:

In a fight, the smooth grooves of Men in Black would easily get trounced by the gritty, R-rated g-funk that dominates the Martin Lawrence-Tim Robbins buddy flick Nothing to Lose. (Best group name: Capone-N-Noreaga.) It does make conceptual sense to fill a getaway movie with guns-and-ammo music, and the album’s highlights have more spark than most of Men in Black‘s: Skip to 911’s new-jack swoon ”In a Magazine,” Queen Latifah’s ladies romp ”It’s Alright,” and ”Poppin’ That Fly S–t,” the return of old-school crooner Oran ”Juice” Jones. B+

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