The Soundtrack for 'The Last Dance' Is the Michael Jordan of Soundtracks
There’s a good chance you’ve seen footage of Michael Jordan playing basketball before. But until the first run of ESPN’s incredible new 10-part documentary The Last Dance, you may not have had the luxury of seeing Michael Jordan playing basketball set to “Partyman” by Prince before. And what an experience it is.
Focusing on a mix of new footage from the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-1998 championship season—dubbed the titular “Last Dance”—along with new interviews and expertly-edited highlights, the documentary is an incredible look at a special team, and at the man who shaped the culture surrounding the NBA into what it is today. And the glue of what holds The Last Dance together, in a way, is the music. The highlights are great, and you can feel what these moments were like—but there’s a difference between Dennis Rodman busting ass, and Dennis Rodman busting ass while the Beastie Boys are playing.
Each Last Dance episode is a thrilling examination of Jordan the person, Jordan the player, and the culture that’s long surrounded him. When it comes to execution time, the show’s music does a lot of the heavy lifting when illustrating just how cool much of this really was. Over the course of the show’s fifth episode—when Air Jordans are introduced and discussed at length—music from Nas, Outkast, and A Tribe Called Quest all plays. That might be the most beloved, formative, and downright cool trio of musicians from the ’90s—which speaks exactly to what the series is trying to convey about MJ.
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And what the series is trying to convey, of course, is how one-of-a-kind Michael Jordan was and is. That a kid from North Carolina could develop into someone with a motivational drive unlike anyone else is one thing. That that same kid could grasp the collective consciousness of what it means to be ‘cool’ in the mid ’80s, and basically never let go is something else entirely. And by collecting an utterly perfect grouping of music to accompany Jordan’s on-screen exploits, The Last Dance helps depict the aura of cool in a manner that’s more than simply visual.
So, in just, we’ve touched base with ESPN, who generously shared the complete list of songs played over the course of The Last Dance. You can find the songs, broken down episode by episode, below, and a Spotify-curated playlist of everything at the very bottom. After the final two parts of the documentary air on Sunday, we’ll update the story one last time. So even when the documentary is over, it won’t just be the Michael Jordan memes left behind (because you know those are never going away)—you’ll have the incredible soundtrack to listen to forever.
“Been Around The World” – Puff Daddy ft. Notorious B.I.G. and Mase
“Sur Le Boulevard Du Rythm Funky” – Soon E MC
“I Ain’t No Joke” – Eric B & Rakim
“Sirius” – Alan Parsons Project
“I’m Bad” – LL Cool J
“Partyman” – Prince
“The Maestro” – Beastie Boys
“Still Not A Player” – Big Pun
“I Feel Free” – Cream
“How Ya Like Me Now” – Kool Moe Dee
“If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” – Nas & Lauryn Hill
“The Choice Is Yours” – Black Sheep
“Be Like Mike” – Ira Antelis
“I Got It Made” – Special Ed
“Can I Kick It?” – A Tribe Called Quest
“Rosa Parks” – Outkast
“Hip Hop Hooray” – Naughty By Nature
“Connected” – Stereo MCs
“Fantastic Voyage” – Coolio
“The Sound Of Silence” (Simon & Garfunkel Cover) – Swann
“Super Bon Bon” – Soul Coughing
“Down With The King” – Run DMC
“Step Into A World” – KRS-One
“Teardrop” (Massive Attack Cover) – Jose Gonzalez
Below, you can find an official, Spotify-curated Last Dance playlist. Stream away, friends:
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