It’s high time : Space Jam: a new legacy, starring NBA star LeBron James, finally arrived on July 16, seven years after it was announced. So far, compared to the original classic 1996 film starring Michael Jordan, the highly anticipated redesign has met mixed reviews on social media, ranging from admiration at the dazzling animation to “heavy” appearances by other characters from Warner Bros. like King Kong and Pennywise in the cartoon megaverse. You will only have to judge for yourself. But regardless of the version, this certified classic will forever have such a big imprint that rappers of all generations refer to it in their lyrics.
Ahead of the film’s official release last week, a soundtrack featuring the voices of Lil Wayne, Lil Baby, 24kGoldn and many more was added to enhance the visuals. Even the villainous Monstars has struck home for some like Childish Gambino, which proclaims itself as one of his 2014 song “Late Night in Kauai”.
Cartoon characters aside, a lot of rhymers seek to achieve as much grandeur in the booth as Mike did in the field. On Brockhampton’s 2017 track “Follow” are memories of Kevin Abstract telling his mother he wanted to be like the bald man he saw on screen. A lot of people who came in the late 1990s also wanted the coveted pair of retro-themed Jordan 11s that he rocked in the movie. A lot of rapper bars have come from painting pictures of wearing those icy soles, as evidenced by Fabolous’s 2003 song “Why wouldn’t I” with Paul Cain.
It is common for Space jam references to jump into hip-hop. So with all the talk about the new movie, which actually features a movie written by Murs rap battle won by Porky Pig, XXL highlights some of the best over the past 25 years. Discover the best Space jam hip-hop references below.