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The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to director Justin Tipping's 2016 debut feature film Kicks features such artists as the Wu-Tang Clan, Mac Dre, RJD2, Charles Bradley, Iamsu!, Marc E. Bassy and Brian Reitzell. The music of the film acts almost as another lead character in Tipping's urban coming-of-age tale set in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was important to have the film be reflective of a place and time, and local Bay Area artists like Roach Gigz, Dave Steezy and NanosauR help to do just that. Almost every song heard in the film is available as part of the soundtrack album. It also boasts songs that you can't get anywhere else from NanosauR, Jay Casio and Brian Reitzell.
The songs in the movie are held together by composer Reitzell's pulsating score, which often acts as the music bed for some of lead actor Jahking Guillory's poignant moments of spoken rap. Creating his own unique method of scoring films, Reitzell draws equally from his experience as a recording and touring musician. His vision for this film score was to create a seamless landscape of songs, score and source music. It also helps that Reitzell himself is from the East Bay area, where the film takes place. "I have always wanted to score a film based there," says Reitzell. "Justin captured the look and feel of the place in such a real way. It was a very natural process for me because I felt so connected to it. The people, the streets, BART trains, the music... it's under my skin."
When asked about the selection process for the music in the film, Tipping says, "I always knew I wanted to weave an eclectic soundtrack together that intertwined hip-hop and sweeping score to reflect the bay area sound as well as the world inside the characters' imagination. With so many genres mashed up together, Brian [Reitzell] was the dream composer for Kicks because of his unique and diverse musical background. He's truly a genius in the studio. He created a sonic through line that elevated the story to an entirely new level."
Composer Reitzell goes on to compliment his director, saying, "Justin has impeccable taste. The source music he selected, mostly hip-hop tracks, really put you in the East Bay whether you knew it or not. It's a timeless collection. We wanted the score to connect with the source music sonically. I think that when you do that, the music as a whole – both songs and score – make for a more immersive/connective experience."