When capturing the essence of Oakland, California, it’s impossible to ignore the music of the city, and that’s why Hamilton alum Daveed Diggs and his childhood friend Rafael Casal recruited one of the founding fathers of Bay Area rap as they crafted and compiled the three-part soundtrack to their upcoming film, Blindspotting.
Releasing the first installment of eight songs on Friday, the Blindspotting soundtrack is an expansion of the film that explores race, class and gentrification in an evolving Oakland through the friendship of Miles (Casal) and Collin (Diggs), who witnesses the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. Diggs and Casal, both musicians, co-wrote the film together and weave poetic verse into the dialogue.
The first compilation of songs are the ones reflective of Collin, Diggs said, capturing the world around him. The lead single from the first pod is “Not a Game,” featuring Bay Area rap legend E-40.
“E-40 is the best rapper alive,” Diggs and Casal said in unison. Casal added, “So much of Bay Area culture is originated by him and the people around him, so much of the slang, the virtuosic nature of the way people function out here. We’ve said so many times we couldn’t do a soundtrack without him on it.”
Diggs said that another favorite of his is the track “Something in the Water,” a collaboration with singer-actress Emmy Raver-Lampman, that he described as feeling “introspective in the way that Collin feels introspective … just a more reflective song.”
The second group of songs, to be released July 20 to coincide with the film’s theatrical release, will trace Miles’ songs and “the vibe of the Bar Area,” Casal said. The third set of songs will celebrate the city of Oakland.
“You get a taste of what it feels like to live in the Bay Area from the music standpoint,” Casal said of the three-part soundtrack. “You get to immerse yourself into the sound and the feel of the place, so we loved the idea of something that was really sight specific, that could bring you into, or bring you back to, the world of the film.”
The full tracklist for the first Blindspotting soundtrack pod is as follows:
- Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs – “Commander Smiley”
- Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs – “Easy Come, Easy Go”
- Mistah F.A.B., Rafael Casal, & Daveed Diggs – “In My City”
- Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs – “Chopped”
- Moe Green, Daveed Diggs, & Kiana Lede – “Running to the Sky”
- E-40, Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs – “Not a Game”
- Marc Bamuthi Joseph – “Stories for Freedom”
- Daveed Diggs & Emmy Raver-Lampman – “Something in the Water”
Listen to E-40’s collaboration with Diggs and Casal below and see the trailer for Blindspotting here.