News broke a few weeks ago that Space Jam 2 is officially in the works. Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin and LeBron James are both signed on, and Dwyane Wade said in a recent interview that he’s interested as well.
This grabbed my attention for obvious reasons. The original Space Jam was a huge part of my childhood when it came out in 1996, pairing big-name athletes with Looney Tunes characters, a Seinfeld regular, a Ghostbuster, and a Danny Devito-voiced alien.
The absolute best thing about Space Jam, though, was the soundtrack. It gave us R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Monica’s “For You I Will,” Chris Rock showed up, and a lot of kids probably heard their very first Jay-Z verse.
The single greatest thing about that soundtrack, though, was that it gave us “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)” by B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J And Busta Rhymes:
Awesome, right? Here we are, 20 years later, and this song is still legitimately good. And what a lineup! I think my favorite verse of the bunch might be B-Real’s, but Meth would have to be a close No. 2.
Could we get a sequel to “Hit ‘Em High” on the Space Jam 2 soundtrack? I hope so. I could always go for another 4-plus minutes of basketball-themed bravado. But who raps this time around?
I thought long and hard about this, and my best attempt at an ideal lineup is Drake, Big Boi, A$AP Rocky, Killer Mike, and El-P. I tried to follow the same basic rules of the original lineup and choose guys who I could actually imagine rapping in a music video surrounded by the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Drake is perhaps the most obvious choice, and I almost didn’t include him because of that fact. But considering his huge profile right now and his longtime Toronto Raptors fandom, I couldn’t leave him out. Film execs would be happy they scored such a big name involved, and I assume Drake, who has hosted SNL before, would be happy to participate, especially when they dump the bags of money at his door.
Would he play along and rap about basketball, though? Or would he get emotional and rap about how lonely he is despite being unfathomably successful? If anyone could take a Space Jam soundtrack song and make it about how nervous he gets before taking the court, or how he wishes his teammates would pass the ball to him more, it’s Drake.
“Hit ‘Em High” had both LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes, two living legends who had already had legendary rap careers by the time 1996 rolled around. And that’s the role Big Boi plays on this hypothetical “Hit ‘Em High 2.” And as he’s shown with Big Grams, he refuses to just coast on his credentials; Big Boi is ready to do his own thing in his own way.
A$AP Rocky is the group’s Method Man, if you will. He’s been a part of some huge hits, his flow is electric, and he has a one-of-a-kind presence that will help him stand out in the group. Rocky is a tremendous talent, and hearing his distinct flow in the middle of the song would take things to a whole other level.
Killer Mike & El-P
Hey, if B-Real can be involved in the original “Hit ‘Em High,” let Killer Mike and El-P each drop a few bars on the sequel. Maybe we can get some cartoons throwing up the Run the Jewels hand signs?
Like Coolio in 1996, Killer Mike and El-P in 2017/2018 would be coming off some huge successes. The Run the Jewels albums keep getting bigger and better, and Mike’s support for Bernie Sanders has increased his public profile as well. I also like the idea of these guys dropping about 45 f-bombs before they have to redo their verses and make them a little more kid-friendly.
Heck, the more I think about it, maybe we just let Run the Jewels do their own song for the soundtrack. Yosemite Sam and Sylvester can blast it while they party after practice.
So that’s my best stab at the next “Hit ‘Em High.” What do you think?