The album debuted at number thirteen on the US Billboard 200, and peaked at number five two weeks later. It also reached number one on the US Top Soundtracks chart. The album appeared in various other charts worldwide, including in the top five of countries such as Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand, and Australia, where it peaked at number three on the ARIA Albums Chart, later receiving a Gold certification.
Andy Kellman of AllMusic wrote that the soundtrack is "unsurprisingly, a mixed bag of pop-oriented rap and R&B featuring second-rate tracks from well-known stars, follow-ups from relative newcomers attempting to maintain and increase momentum, and a whole bunch of up-and-comers with early material," selecting Cassie's "Is It You", Cherish's "Killa" and KC's "Say Cheese" as highlights. Nathan S. from DJBooth.net commented "the best part of any decent soundtrack is listening to up-and-comers compete with the big boys, and some of Step Up's best songs come from some decidedly non-major artists," continuing, "it's not exactly a work of art, but it's not supposed to be, it's supposed to be entertaining. If you liked the movie you'll like the soundtrack." John Li of movieXclusive.com opined, "The head-bobbing tunes, the bouncy raps and the heavy rhythms are definitely not for those who like their music lyrical and sweet," noting the closest radio-friendly pop songs are "Is It You" and Trey Songz's "Can't Help But Wait" with the performers' "soulful vocals" heping to "soothe things down a bit."
While reviewing the film for ComingSoon.net, Brad Brevet stated the soundtrack "is filled with music far better than what most dance films have to offer."High-Def Digest reviewer Peter Bracke described "the pounding bass beats and intricate high-end, hip-hop intonations sound fantastic - I'm a fan of any track that hits from all angles and this kept me immersed in the film's key dance sequences." Adam Tyner of DVD Talk said the "Step Up 2 the Streets' soundtrack is all about the music, with hip-hop beats flooding every speaker and backed by a monstrous, room-rattling low-frequency kick." Bob Hoose from Plugged In selected the soundtrack as a negative element of the movie, "the hip-hop tunes in the soundtrack include repeated—though often hard to make out—references to "booty" and backsides."People picked it as "soundtrack of the week" on their issue dated March 3, 2008, adding that it "gives you plenty of reason to bust a move."