Hardball. Let's face it. The movie is The Bad News Bears set in inner city Chicago, with a love story thrown in just for good measure. The soundtrack feels like it was made for Lil' Bow Wow, so its no surprise that the pint-sized rapper shows up on more than one track. The collection bounces back and forth from lighthearted hip-hop, like "Where's the Party At" and "Big Poppa," to heavier street songs like "Ghetto" and "You Can't Break Me." Much of the album is mediocre R&B and rap, but Mobb Depp's "Play," a soulful call to city youths, is a true gem. The songs are full of cute little baseball references and there's even an urbanized version of "Take Me out to the Ball Game." The soundtrack closes with a saccharine-sweet ballad from Xscape, just to let you know that this story has a happy ending. ~ Brad Kohlenstein

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