When we last left off, we were analyzing the musical expressions that defined America’s darkest hour. As foreign terrorists drilled through the parking lot of a downtown Birmingham Piggly Wiggly with hopes of enslaving the coveted entertainment icons of our childhood – The Looney Toons, America rose up as one to say “We Got a Real Jam Going Down!”
As Hollywood would have it, this plight was captured just a year later in the tear-jerking classic Space Jam. The following seven songs formulated the second half of the 6x Platinum record.
Track Eight – “Upside Down (‘Round-N-Round)” by Salt-n-Peppa – Ordinarily, I’m fairly critical of an artist being sampled. There’s a short list of untouchable musical icons that should never be insulted – The Beatles, Elvis, Diana Ross, Chumbawumba, to name a few. However, Salt-n-Peppa’s “Upside Down” restores my faith in Motown sampling. They even tie in some digital shaking sounds in the background to further their branding alignment with common table condiments. A marketing tactic sure to be discussed in the Harvard Business School Case Study Method for eons to come.
Track Nine – “Givin’ U All That I Got” by Robin S. – Oh the infamous Daffy Duck runway song. Daffy, once the subject of racism in the Anatidae community for the color of his feathers, made a proud comeback in Space Jam. And perhaps there is no better song than Robin S.’s “Givin’ U All That I Got” to describe his acting performance in this movie. This track, but really all tracks by the Queens native, embodies the Z104 sound that defined the 90s. I couldn’t find a music video for this song, but figure it to be a carbon copy of her 1993 hit “Show Me Love”. Just look at this music video – nondescript night club scene, 45-degree camera angle, rapid zoom-in/zoom-out, a black Boy George, walk-offs, heavy petting – it has it all. This place seemed amazing as a seven-year old kid. Finding out that instead, in 2012, that night clubs are packed wall-to-wall with dudes, uptight bitches, and $9 beers was such a let down.
Track Ten – “Basketball Jones” by Barry White and Chris Rock – Is this song about basketball? Or laying pipe? I can’t tell. What I can tell though, is that Chris Rock can RAP! Holy shit! When did that happen? Was it before or after this song (warning: kinda NSFW) WAS ORIGINALLY SUNG BY CHEECH AND CHONG? My mind is officially blown. In 1995, a full year before this movie came out, did you ever, in a million years, think that Barry White would do a duet for the ages with Chris Rock of a Cheech and Chong song?? Plus, Chris Rock name drops like crazy in this song – Pat Riley, Mitch Richmond, Scottie Pippen, Larry Johnson, David Robinson, Dennis Rodman, Bob Costas, Dr. J, Bill Walton, Cheryl (but not Reggie) Miller, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird (whatcha’ heard?), Slyvester, Mike Tyson, [his] momma, Charles Barkley, Shawn Kemp, Jack Nicholson, and Spike Lee to name a few. Five stars.
Track Eleven – “I Turn to You” by All-4-One – Later covered by Christina Aguilera. She hit #3 on the Billboard charts with it. That speaks volumes of how big of a pile of shit this song is.
Track Twelve – “All of My Days” by R. Kelly featuring Changing Faces & Jay-Z – It’s possible that this music video is unsafe for children’s eyes. But considering this video is shot in 240p, I can’t exactly tell. How can R. Kelly even take credit for this song? Wait a second, how does this song even relate to the movie? Is this supposed to be the background track to the Bugs/Lola sex scene that was taken out on the cutting room floor? I expected more from Sheldon Kahn, a man who edited a movie called “Casual Sex?”
Track Thirteen – “That’s the Way (I Like It)” by The Spin Doctors featuring Biz Markie – Now, admittedly, I’m slightly dyslexic. Especially when it comes to the internet and reading something I know is going to be hilarious. My eyes jump all over the screen and read all kinds of words in different orders. I merge words in one line of text with the words directly underneath it. It’s just one of those weird disconnects between your eyes and brain. But luckily, when I read the artist of Track Thirteen, I had a certain level of patience that didn’t spoil the surprise. My brain process went something like this:
- “That’s the Way (Hrmm… could this be my favorite Led Zeppelin track? Keep reading…)
- (I Like It)” (Aww man KC and the Sunshine Band is SO overplayed. Ugh, maybe it’s a cover…)
- by The Spin Doctors (Well that’s different. I thought they all died after Two Princes came out because nobody heard from them since. They’re alive. Good for them…)
- featuring Biz Markie (Yes. There is a God.)
Track Fourteen – “Buggin'” by The Looney Tunes – Like every hip hop star’s debut since the dawn of time, Bugs’ coming-out track is an ego-maniacal rant about wealth, cultural superiority and chicks. Mel Blanc would roll over in his grave if he heard this. Luckily, he’s dead.
By now, you know the ending. Michael Jordan would regain his basketball form and score 44 points from the floor, including the game winning Stretch Armstrong dunk from half-court as time expired. The alien terrorists were forced to relinquish their temporary basketball powers, which were promptly returned to the victims upon Jordan’s grand entrance via spacecraft to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Jordan would become our modern day Fredrick Douglas and be adopted as the face of the extraterrestrial abolitionist movement. It caused all of us to unite as a species, nay a planet, with our anthropomorphic brethren, to put a stop to this cruel and vicious practice.
Maybe it’s fitting that just days after His Airness’ return, Mississippi abolished human slavery once and for all.