If you were a kid during the 90s, 1996 was the year where you wanted to do exactly two things when you got home from school: 1) watch your VHS copy of Space Jam, and 2) listen to your shiny new CD copy of the Space Jam soundtrack.
It might seem funny nowadays that one of the definitive hip-hop and R&B albums of the 90s was the soundtrack to a movie starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, but just take a look at the tracks on this thing and TELL ME that it wasn’t a big deal.
Seal – “Fly Like An Eagle”
The soundtrack starts off with easily one of the best songs not just from the movie, but from the 90s in general. Seal was one of the hottest names in R&B at the time, and this song stands as a testament to that.
Did you know that it’s a Steve Miller cover though? Yup, you can even hear bits of the original in Seal’s version.
Coolio – “The Winner”
While not quite the hit that “Gangsta’s Paradise” was, “The Winner” is a pretty solid example of why Coolio was everywhere in the 90s. Sadly, the song wasn’t released as one of the album’s singles.
Quad City DJ’s – “Space Jam”
Now THIS is the good stuff. The group’s theme song for the movie is one of the most infectiously catchy and memorable theme songs of all time, and to this day just about everybody knows what you mean when you say “Come on and SLAM!” What else would you expect from the guys behind “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)?”
R. Kelly – “I Believe I Can Fly”
Probably the most iconic song from the entire movie, this is R. Kelly at his most soulful and least-crazy (which is pretty impressive). Pretty sure I know all the words to this song even today.
We’re also not the only fans of it. Apparently when Kelly played the song for Notorious B.I.G., Biggie teared up and said “They gonna be playing that when you and I have moved on to the other side of time.”
B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, Method Man – “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)”
This is one of the best and most surprising songs on the album. A total who’s-who of 90s rap music band together to do a PG-rated rap song for a kids movie, and the surprising things is that it actually manages to be REALLY good.
Even crazier was that the team who produced the song, Trackmasters, produced other massive hits, like Will Smith’s “Miami” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”
There’s still plenty of great tracks left on this album!
D’Angelo – “I Found My Smile Again”
D’Angelo was another massive artist at the time, and the fact that the soundtrack had one of his songs on it probably didn’t hurt sales at all.
Monica – “For You I Will”
Written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren (who won several Grammys for producing some pretty massive pop hits) and recorded for this soundtrack, this pop ballad was the first single released from the soundtrack, and ended up going Platinum!
Salt-N-Pepa – “Upside Down (Round-N-Round)”
One of the biggest hip-hop acts of the late 80s and early 90s, the ladies followed up a Grammy win with this contribution to the soundtrack, and it’s a good one!
Robin S. – “Givin’ U All That I’ve Got”
Does anybody else remember Robin S.? Yeah, me neither.
Barry White, Chris Rock – “Basketball Jones”
The Cheech and Chong classic is re-recorded by the prophet of love himself, alongside one of the funniest comedians of all time. It’s a pretty great cover, though it’s sorely missing the presence of George Harrison (no, seriously, the former Beatle was one of the musicians on the original track).
All-4-One – “I Turn To You”
This song actually got some of the least love of all the songs on the soundtrack, ultimately not being noticed by the public until Christina Aguilera recorded a cover of it for her debut album.
R. Kelly ft. Changing Faces, Jay-Z – “All of My Days”
Recorded for the soundtrack but ultimately not making it into the movie, it’s a pretty solid collaboration between some big names.
Spin Doctors ft. Biz Markie – “That’s The Way (I Like It)”
Everybody’s favorite car commercial songwriters did a cover of the famous KC and the Sunshine Band tune, and the results aren’t half bad!
Bugs Bunny – “Buggin’ “
Yes, it’s a rap song performed by Bugs Bunny. It’s about what you’d expect. Fun fact: the main writing credit on this song goes to one Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Yup.
Also, did you know that Bugs is voiced both in the movie and in this song by Billy West? You probably know him best as Fry from Futurama, or as the red M&M in their commercials.