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.
The year is 1995. Economic prosperity has reached new heights, as the Dow eclipses the 4,000 point mark for the first time in history. Yet, all is not well.
America sits on the brink of destruction from a bioterrorism attack. What begins as a small, contained endemic quickly escalates into a full blow epidemic that grips the United States. Mass panic and fear of the uncertainty consume the heart of the nation. Outbreaks are reported coast-to-coast, from New York and Philadelphia to Charlotte and Phoenix. The symptoms range from “five-feet nuthin’ girls blocking [one’s] shots” to impotence.
Worst of all, there is no recognizable common source of the infection. That is, until creatures from a foreign land reveal the zoonotic cause. The world would call upon its savior – professional minor league baseball player Michael Jordan – one final time, to fight tyranny and oppression.
Chronicled in the 1996 classic, Space Jam, this tale became cemented into cinematic lore to teach our children the valuable lessons of exchanging your life for amusement park imprisonment. Accompanying the $230 million success story was a 14-track ensemble of empowering composition that dominated minivan cassette decks for months to come.
Join me, if you will, on a journey through the most inspiring and eclectic 65 minutes of music that humanity has ever had the privilege of being exposed to.