It has been 20 years since Michael Jordan and his cartoon buddies played the game of the games against the MonStars in the iconic basketball movie Space Jam. MJ’s epic buzzer beater makes baller fans worldwide still shiver in a fever of excitement. And as soon as R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” track hits your ears, you can not get around reveling in memories of your younger self jamming to the legendary soundtrack of Space Jam. The lineup of its artists is as terrific as the starting fives of the Tune Squad vs. the MonStars: R. Kelly, Jay-Z, Seal, Coolio, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, D’Angelo, Salt-N-Pepa, Monica, Bugs Bunny, Chris Rock and Barry White. Little wonder that this R&B- and Rap-focused soundtrack reached #2 on the Billboard charts, went double platinum within eight weeks of its release and was certified 6x Platinum till 2001. It is a collection of amazing artists, great voices, excellent tracks, canny lyrics and electrifying beats. Whenever a song was used during the movie, it helped to accompany, improve and enchant the entire scene.
The Space Jam film and its soundtrack were the perfect match for basketball lovers and hip hop enthusiasts alike. The tracks were 90s hits, the illest ones seen in the urban music scene. One could say that the Space Jam soundtrack was the Michael Jordan of 90s movie soundtracks. Damn, what a cunning comparison – but pretty much on point.
The soundtrack on full blast, that’s the way the audience liked it. That’s the way we liked it and that’s the way Spin Doctors featuring Biz Markie made us like it. You see what I am getting at? “That’s the Way (I like it)” was one of the jams listed on the soundtrack and listened to by everyone. Quite a transition, wasn’t it? The track is one of our favorite songs and its strange pairing made the track even more outstanding. Number two goes to “Hit ‘em High (The Monstars Anthem)” by B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes. Five artists teaming up for the baddest and meanest basketball players in the history, dropping the “flyest” theme music any sports team has had in history. The epic collabo of all these performers was the introduction into Rap music for a lot of kids. The distinctive voices and disparate styles worked perfectly in this cross-crew combination. Hit ‘em High! Our next fav track is probably the most successful on the list: “I Believe I Can Fly” by none other than R. Kelly from 1996. The triple Grammy Award winning song is the perfect fit for the key scenes of Space Jam. On the one hand, it is about personal achievement, eagerness and the faith in yourself, on the other hand, it can be interpreted as flying and jumping high on the basketball court. And MJ did just that, especially his last shot in the intergalactic basketball game seemed quite like flying. The track transported the believe of the impossible, the strive for greatness. It was the anthem of the kids of the 90s. A song that would transcend all music and push everyone further and further. The last song to mention is “Fly Like An Eagle” by Seal. It’s funky, soulful, groovy and so fly. Seal’s voice gave the movie the vibes everyone was yearning for. It pushed you to go hard for your dreams – probably the main issue of the entire movie.
The Space Jam movie is excellent in its combination of music, culture and sports. While the artists influenced the music of the 80s and its following decades, the movie drove an entire generation of kids to the courts. Back in the days, everyone was obsessed with the songs and what they stood for. Jamming out to the CD on the little stereos, everyone was part of the spirit. Space Jam not only impacted film, but culture itself. We hope your childhood memories have been refreshed with this small journey back in time.
IF NOT, GET READY TO JAM:
1. Seal – “Fly Like an Eagle”
2. Coolio – “The Winner”
3. Quad City DJ’s – “Space Jam”
4. R. Kelly – “I Believe I Can Fly”
5. B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes – “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)”
6. D’Angelo – “I Found My Smile Again”
7. Monica – “For You I Will”
8. Salt-N-Pepa – “Upside Down (‘Round-N-‘Round)”
9. Robin S. – “Givin’ U All That I’ve Got”
10. Barry White & Chris Rock – “Basketball Jones”
11. All 4-One – “I Turn to You”
12. R. Kelly featuring Changing Faces & Jay-Z – “All of My Days“
13. Spin Doctors featuring Biz Markte – “That’s the Way (I Like It)”
14. Bugs Bunny – “Buggin'”, Lyrics by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter & Music by James Newton Howard