RJ Cyler wears a sheepskin lined jean jacket, brown pants, and a wide brimmed hat. He also wears a turquoise ring, brown bracelet, and silver necklace. He looks down on the camera with true cowboy swagger.

RJ Cyler’s Playlist

The cowboy-actor shares the playlist that he listened to in preparation for his role as Jim Beckwourth in the upcoming Western The Harder They Fall.

November 5, 20214 min Read

For his feature film debut, The Harder They Fall, director Jeymes Samuel (aka The Bullitts) gathered an ensemble of surefire talent including Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and LaKeith Stanfield to bring to life the largely untold stories of real-life Black cowboys who rode in the Old West of the 1800s. “The Harder They Fall will put something into our culture that has been missing forever. Most every character in this film is based on a person that really existed — I just assembled them like Black Gods and put them in one space at one time,” says Jeymes, who also co-wrote and produced the film’s original music and soundtrack with Jay-Z.

Relative newcomer RJ Cyler plays the film’s resident flashy hothead Jim Beckwourth. “He talks a little too much; he’s fast with his two guns, one on each hip. Every one of these characters has a different nuance that makes them pop,” says Cyler. The actor produced his own playlist to prepare for his role.

Earthgang sings on stage, lit by red and blue lights. One person wears a RAW onesie, and the other wears a white feathered vest.


MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

“Baptize” by Spillage Village, JID, EarthGang, feat. Ant Clemons

This was the song I listened to most frequently during prep and production of The Harder They Fall because it’s the right tempo for Jim Beckwourth. I practiced my gun training and horse riding to this song when I wasn’t listening to instruction.

Kevin Saurer of Hippie Sabotage wears a tie dyed sweatshirt and holds his phone towards the crowd. He stands on stage, which is lit by rainbow lights.

Kevin Saurer of Hippie Sabotage

Rick Kern / Contributor

“Devil Eyes” by Hippie Sabotage

It’s soft in tone but has the kick of a Spartan that makes it the perfect “blam blam” track. This song always brings a calming but epic feel to the character of Jim.

Bankroll Fresh wears a white longsleeved, a camo hat, and brown pants. He dances surrounded by lots of other people.

Bankroll Fresh

Prince Williams / Contributor

“Take Over Your Trap” by Bankroll Fresh, 2 Chainz, Skooly

I used to wake up to this on hard days. The tempo and bassline will definitely get the blood flowing and the body hyped.

“Dirty” by Baby Soulja feat. Boosie Badazz

A great prep song because of the Southern feel it brings to this Southern boy. On and off set, this song plays heavy.

Rick Ross wears a black sweatshirt with white Dolce & Gabbana scribbled in white. He holds his arms out, lit by orange lights in the background.

Rick Ross

Burak Cingi / Contributor

“100 Black Coffins” by Rick Ross

One of my favorites because of the dark trap, gully type of tone. They mixed the country and the rap perfectly on this song; it was great for horse training.

CeeLo Green wears an orange leather outfit, and sunglasses as he sings into a microphone on stage.

CeeLo Green

Leon Bennett / STA 2020 / Contributor

“Soul Machine” by Ceelo Green

Great for vibing to, but also great for training gun choreography.

“Cuddle Szn” by Nariah

I used this song in gun training to practice balance and control. The tempo is slow and smooth which made my movements more precise and led to better accuracy when we needed to speed up the movements.

“Mistakes” by Ishdarr

This is one of my daily morning songs: Whether on set or at home, this song is always on the list.

“Slow Down” by Ishdarr

Ish is one of my favorite musical artists and also a close friend of mine, and his vibe in this song only pushed me to keep cranking up my craft. This song kept me going through tired times and heavy days.

Darius Campbell wears light wash jeans, a red checkered shirt, and a silver chain across his waist. He sings into a microphone on stage.

Darius Campbell

Leon Bennett / STA 2020 / Contributor

“Helios” by Darius feat. Wayne Snow

This morning wake song could play throughout the day, for sure. It always added a beautiful tone to our shooting location.

“Bad Mutha” by Ceelo Green

I would think of this song when I was mid-scene as Jim because he is a baaaad mutha ooowee with the “blam blams.”