This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
There’s only one song you really need on a soundtrack to this prime-time prison-block soap opera — the jungle-drum and tin-cup-on-the-cell-bars percussion of the show’s propulsive instrumental theme. Yet somehow, the folks behind this companion CD managed to screw it up.
Yes, the track is here, but it’s been cut up and sampled into a backing track for Kool G Rap, Lord Jamar and Talib Kweli’s Oz Theme 2000. Sure, it’s an OK song — as are the other 16 prison-themed raps, many from heavy hitters like the Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Pharoahe Monch, Cypress Hill and Master P. But frankly, I would have prefered a more varied lineup; why not some C&W from Vern Schillinger’s collection, some Sinatra for the mobsters and some global fare for the Muslims? And while I dig the Augustus Hill monologues, I’d trade them (and a carton of smokes) for that theme song. Listening to Oz: The Soundtrack isn’t as scary as a week in the hole — or finding yourself on Ryan O’Reily’s bad side — but it’s hard time nonetheless.