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#ThrowbackThursday: “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly (From The “Space Jam” Soundtrack)

The Space Jam soundtrack included the film’s hit theme song “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly.

by Sean Smith

The iconic animated hare, Bugs Bunny, unofficially turned 75 years old on Monday. The famed Warner Bros. character first appeared, albeit at the time uncredited, in the 1940 Oscar-nominated cartoon short A Wild Hare.

Since those early days, Bugs Bunny has starred in countless episodes of animated television programs and quite a few movies. One of the more well known Bugs Bunny movie appearances came in 1996 when the Warner Bros. mascot teamed up with NBA legend Michael Jordan in Space Jam. Rumors have recently been swirling that Bugs may soon be teaming up with current NBA superstar LeBron James for a possible Space Jam sequel. While these rumors are just that at this point, rumors, some believe that the timing of James recent acting debut in Trainwreck and the signing of an agreement between James production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and Warner Bros. may hint at this being a real possibility. On Tuesday, LeBron James added fuel to the persistent rumors by having the following interaction with a fan on Twitter:


So with the recent birthday of Bugs Bunny and the rumors swirling around about a possible Space Jam 2, this week we thought it would be fun to take a look back and remember what was a pretty good soundtrack for the first Space Jam film, and more specifically the biggest hit from that album “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly.

The Space Jam soundtrack was co-produced by Craig Kallman, who is now Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records. Kallman talked about putting the soundtrack for the film together during a 2011 interview with Clizbeats.

Atlantic Records’ Craig Kallman Talks Producing The “Space Jam” Soundtrack

Clizbeats Productions 

As Kallman mentioned to us back in 2011, the Space Jam soundtrack was a high stakes project due to all the big names involved with the film.  Essentially, the soundtrack had the task of not only having to fit within the film’s story arc, but it also had to be able to stand up on its own away from the movie. It also had to match the star power of a film that included legendary cartoon characters, arguably the best basketball player of all time, and acting greats like Bill Murray and Danny DeVito.

A good example of how the soundtrack was able to accomplish all these things comes on “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)”. The hip hop track features some of the biggest names in 1990s rap music with B-Real of Cypress Hill, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes. Lyrically speaking, the track has a basketball theme running throughout, with references to the film, but it is not as if the song doesn’t make any type of sense if someone were to hear it without knowledge of the film.

Other interesting songs included on the Space Jam soundtrack are Seal doing a rendition of the Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle”, All-4-One singing the Diane Warren penned “I Turn to You”, and even a Bugs Bunny rap track appropriately titled “Buggin'”. It’s a fun album to listen through, but it also had it’s share of commercially successful singles. The first being Monica’s “For You I Will”, another Diane Warren written track, which was a top 10 hit peaking at the fourth position on the Billboard Hot 100. The second being the film’s theme, and the most popular song from the album, “I Believe I Can Fly”.

R. Kelly says in a 2013 interview with The Boombox that he came up with the melody for the song while sleeping in a hotel. He says he got up, went down to the hotel’s lobby, and started piecing the song together as guests came in and out. Kelly recalls that one of those guests who witnessed “I Believe I Can Fly” coming together in the public space was none other then the late great rap legend Notorious B.I.G., who upon hearing it reportedly told Kelly “Oh, B. That’s a big hit son.” Biggie’s premonition, if true, turned out to be right on point. “I Believe I Can Fly” would go on to not only anchor what was a great soundtrack, but would also top the Billboard R&B Songs chart as well as reach as high as the second spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Not to mention the three Grammy’s the song would bring home.

So with Bugs Bunny turning 75 and the rumors of a Space Jam 2 making the rounds, we remember the soundtrack for the 1996 film Space Jam and its most notable single “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. Enjoy.

R. Kelly 

“I Believe I Can Fly”

From Space Jam Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 

Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records 

Related Media 

Seal

“Fly Like An Eagle”

From Space Jam Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 

Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records 

B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J, And Busta Rhymes 

“Hit’ Em High (The Monstar’s Anthem)”

From Space Jam Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 

Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records 

Monica

“For You I Will”

From Space Jam Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 

Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records