The ‘Space Jam’ Soundtracks – 1996 Vs. 2021

Written By Trenton Coley

In 1996, the world was blown away by the Warner Bros. classic movie Space Jam. It featured everybody's favorite harebrained rabbit buddy as well as the GOAT, Michael Jordan. Not only was the movie a huge success in box offices and the hearts of children and NBA fans all over the world, but it also gave us an amazing soundtrack with some really great music.

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One particular track flew head and shoulders above the rest solidifying a place in motivational greatness. After 25 years of waiting, the Space Jam: A New Legacy is days away from hitting theaters and HBO Max but with a must-hear soundtrack which just released. With so many amazing artists being showcased on this blockbuster soundtrack, you can expect some legit dopeness to come out of this album. Let’s compare some Space Jam tracks… then & now.

Off top, just by looking at the compared tracklists, I can say there’s a much less traditional presence on this album. While the original soundtrack had some alternative and classic rock joints on it, this new soundtrack doesn’t seem to be going the same route at all. Instead, the artists on the album seem to be all hip-hop and R&B-based artists. Save for the Jonas Bros. So…

The 1996 Space Jam album was 14 tracks and ran about 65 minutes, start to finish. This new soundtrack has more tracks at 16, but has kept the same run time around 65 minutes. If you remember, the 1996 album started off with Seal singing a version of a classic rock song, “Fly Like An Eagle.” This time around, we get the doors kicked open by Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin with their melodic and choir assisted, soulful song, “We Win.”

24KGolden and Lil Wayne follow with “Control The World.” It’s an upbeat tune, with a message about expectations.

The third track is what I was most pumped to hear. The title is “See Me Fly” and features Chance the Rapper, Symba and John Legend. Rappers aside, seeing John Legend’s name on a Space Jam track with ‘Fly’ in the title has me hoping for some “I Believe I Can Fly”-type of iconic’ness to happen. Turns out that kind of energy isn’t here for this track, though. It’s a solid song, but no where near the ballad I had hoped for.

The only artists I’ve heard on both of the Space Jam soundtracks is the legendary female MC duo, Salt N’ Pepa. First time around, the pair killed it over the classic Diana Ross “Upside Down” sample. This time, the icons link with current hip hop America’s sweethearts’ Saweetie and Kash Doll. The verses are sick. Big respect to this track. My favorite on the album so far.

There’s some good music on this soundtrack, for real. I don’t know if it’s going to give us any jewels like “Hit Em High” or Monica‘s “For You I Will,” both which were on the OG soundtrack. Regardless, for me, the first album has better music than this one. But before anybody let’s me know why I’m wrong, let’s check out one more tracks real quick. Grammy nominated rapper Lil Uzi Vert recorded a track called “Pump Up The Jam.”

I was really expecting the Technotronic‘s “Pump Up The Jam” sample from their 1989 song by the same title. The energy of that song seemed like a no-brainer for Lil Uzi on a soundtrack for a movie about playing basketball with space aliens. This new version does indeed sample the original song, just doesn’t harness that same hyped, motivating energy.

All in all, so far, the Space Jam: A New Legacy soundtrack offers some fun and upbeat, outgoing tracks that are sure to keep some cookouts rocking this summer. The Salt N’ Pepa joint alone is worthy of adding to your playlists. Let me know what ya’ll think of the the new Space Jam: A New Legacy soundtrack.

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Written by Trenton Coley

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