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‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Soundtrack Wants To Be as Iconic as the Original

The team behind the hottest soundtrack of the summer, including 24kGoldn, Big Freedia, and Kirk Franklin, discuss how they came together

Big Freedia, 24KGoldn, and Kirk Franklin are among the artists on the soundtrack for 'Space Jam: A New Legacy'

Chris Berntsen*; Jonathan Mannion*; Kauwuane Burton*

When director Malcolm D. Lee thinks of the soundtrack to the original Space Jam, he sees a cultural turning point. “It came at a time when soundtracks for movies were just exploding, particularly when it came to African-American music — hip-hop and R&B,” he says. “So I would say that we had a high bar to reach.”

Lee is referring to the all-new, all-star soundtrack for the upcoming sequel he directed, Space Jam: A New Legacy. The new film is something of a generational update on the 1996 original, and finds Michael Jordan’s iconic role taken on by the current era’s basketball great, LeBron James. The four-time NBA MVP guides a familiar gang of animated teammates, with a decidedly 2021 twist: The villains in the new film arrive courtesy of a mysterious A.I.

Like the original soundtrack, which featured songs by everyone from D’Angelo to Busta Rhymes, Lee’s update makes significant use of contemporary music, with artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, Saweetie, Lil Baby, Big Freedia, 24kGoldn, Brockhampton, and Chance the Rapper all featured on the track list (not to mention Dame D.O.L.L.A., a.k.a. NBA star Damian Lillard).

“The music that we get for the movie has to be in the body of the movie,” Lee explains. “So that’s always the thing that we strived for.”