Unlocking the Secrets of “Space Jam”

By Will Peisch | 4/14/16 8:05am

One of the most bizarre chapters of “Looney Tunes,” basketball and cinema history was the release of the 1996 film “Space Jam,” starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and you know the rest (otherwise you wouldn’t have clicked on the link). One of the most underrated aspects of the film is its corresponding soundtrack, which features such hits as R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle.” But by far, the crown jewel of the “Space Jam” soundtrack is the eponymous “Space Jam” by the Quad City DJ’s. It’s a perfect representation of the film, in that you feel warm feelings of nostalgia listening to it, but when you remove that nostalgia, you realize just how truly odd it is.

Everybody get up it's time to slam now
We got a real jam goin' down
Welcome to the Space Jam
Here's your chance do your dance at the Space Jam

This being a movie/rap about basketball, the slamming that’s occurring at this jamboree is most likely a reference to slam dunks. As we’ll soon learn, at this “Space Jam,” slam dunks are a prerequisite to jamming. As QCD puts it repeatedly:

Come on and slam [dunk] and welcome to the jam
Come on and slam [dunk] if you want to jam

Party people in the house let’s go
It's your boy "Jayski" a'ight so
Pass that thing and watch me flex
Behind my back, you know what's next

What’s next is that Jayski does a slam dunk. But it’s not just your ordinary slam dunk, as he goes on to say:

To the jam, all in your face
Wassup, just feel the bass
Drop it, rock it, down the room
Shake it, quake it, space KABOOM

Jayski is referring to the popular practice of shaking the basketball like a Magic 8 ball before dunking it. According to him, this makes what’s known as a “space KABOOM,” referring to an explosion that is both silent and scientifically impossible.

Jayski then provides a series of confusing metaphors about basketball and dancing before making an impressive basketball-related innuendo in this theme song for a children’s movie:

Jam on it, One on One
You run the “O” and I run the "D"
So c'mon baby just jam for me

But the real magic of the “Space Jam,” theme song is not just in the idiosyncrasies of the lyrics. Rather, the magic lies in the song’s adaptability. There’s an entire subreddit devoted to Space Jam mash-ups. When played, these songs are a perfect way to get people to leave your frat basement immediately (from personal experience).

Examples of mash-ups include (but are not limited to):
Space Jam” and “Carry On My Wayward Son
Space Jam” and “Gangnam Style
Space Jam” and the hit musical “Hamilton (This one is terrible and some of my friends are going to considering my postingthis a declaration of war.)
Space Jam” and “Can’t Touch This
Space Jam” and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us

But my favorite part of the “Space Jam” soundtrack is not even the song by the Quad City DJ’s. It’s a song entitled “Buggin”:


Why is this song my favorite, you ask? Well, first off, it’s performed by none other than Bugs Bunny and his rhymes are fire. Take this Ill Fayze level of poetry, for example:

Like Trump's wife,
Up to my ears in carrots,
Not even the barber can fade da rabbit.

Where did Bugs Bunny get the ability to spit such sick flow? As it turns out, the song “Buggin’” was written by none other than a young Jay Z. This is not a joke, it is absolutely true.

So the next time you’re feeling nostalgic (and want people to leave your basement), play “Space Jam” by the Quad City DJ’s or literally any of the hundreds of its mash-ups.

Will Peisch