On April 21, 2000, an American romantic sports drama titled (Love & Basketball) hit the theatres and grossed $27.7 million USD in box office sales. Over the course of time, this movie has cemented itself into pop culture, earning itself the right to be called a cult classic. The movie received positive reviews and was a popular hit among the fans who watched it. Not only was the movie popular, so was the soundtrack. Fans of basketball were especially drawn to the movie for its content. In the movie, the teenagers, Monica Wright (played by Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall (played by Omar Epps) want to become professional basketball stars. For Quincy, this came easy enough for him, and is quickly recognized as a favorite candidate for the big leagues. As for Monica, she had to work much harder to prove herself. As the two teens have to contend with their career paths, they also have to contend with each other as its clear there’s more between them than just a budding relationship with common interests. As the story blossoms, so does the romance between the two, as well as all the complications that make on-screen love stories so well-favored by the fans. It was due to the movie’s storyline that contributed to the layout of its soundtrack.
Love & Basketball Soundtrack
The Love & Basketball soundtrack was released on April 18, 2000, just three days prior to the movie’s opening. There were several recording artists featured on the album such as Raphael Saadiq, Angie Stone, Zapp, and Steve Hurley. In the U.S., it peaked as high as number forty-five on the US Billboard 200 and at number fifteen on its R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It also charted at number one on the US Billboard Independent Albums chart. There were a total of twelve songs on the soundtrack
12. I’ll Go (performed by Donell Jones)
The original version of “I’ll Go” was first performed by Rahsaan Patterson, but it did not appear in any of his official recordings until 2001 when his compilation album, (Soul Togetherness), was released. Donell Jones recorded his R&B cover of this song that appeared as the first track on the Love & Basketball soundtrack in 2000.
11. Complete Beloved (performed by Black Eyed Peas and Les Nubians)
(Complete Beloved) was a song performed by the Black Eyed Peas and Les Nubians that was designed specifically for the Love & Basketball soundtrack. Loaded with electronic influence, this sultry hip-hop song worked its rhythmic magic as a sporty tune that serves as good pump-up music during athletic events and at workouts.
10. Lyte as a Rock (performed by MC Lyte)
Rapper MC Lyte produced the 1988 single, “Lyte as a Rock,” which is different than what’s on the album. The album version was the one used in the movie, Love & Basketball twelve years later. In 2006, Lil’ Kim performed this very song at the 2006 VH1 Hip Hop Honors as a tribute to the original rap artist and her outstanding work in the music industry.
9. Fool of Me (performed by Meshell Ndegeocello)
The final song from the Love & Basketball soundtrack is (Fool of Me), which was recorded by Meshell Ndegeocello as one of the songs from his 1999 album, (Bitter). Designed as an ambitious life theme song, it focused on what sometimes feels like a beautiful, but the sometimes complicated circle of beauty, faith, love, and loyalty.
8. Love and Happiness (performed by Al Green)
From his 1972 album, (I’m Still in Love with You), Al Green produced the song, (Love and Happiness). Regarded as one of the greatest soul songs of all time, the Love & Basketball soundtrack’s inclusion of this track into its roster simply adds to the mix of romance and drama that was also the overall theme of the movie.
7. Soul Sista (performed by Bilal)
The mix of neo-soul and R&B made “Soul Sista” a number eighteen hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as a number seventy-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was used to support Bilal’s studio album, 1st Born Second, which was released in 2000, the same year the soundtrack to Love & Basketball came out, as well as the movie. Its appearance on the soundtrack also served as a boost for the song’s popularity, as well as the artist lyrically responsible for it.
6. I Like (performed by Guy)
Originally from his 1988 self-titled album, Guy recorded and released the R&B single, (I Like.) This same song is included in the Love & Basketball soundtrack. At the timing of its original release, it peaked as high as number two on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as high as number thirty-six on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, and at number seventy on the US Billboard Hot 100.
5. Holding Back the Years (performed by Angie Stone)
Originally from Simply Red, (Holding Back the Years) was a single the group released in 1985 from their debut studio album, (Picture Book). For them, it remained as the most successful single in their career as it was a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number two hit on the UK Singles Chart. It also reached number four on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It also earned the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, but lost nomination at the 1986 Grammy Awards, but lost out to the supergroup combo of Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder for their “That’s What Friends Are For” hit. As for Angie Stone’s coverage of this hit single, it delivered a decent R&B flair that suited the overall vibe of the movie, plus the soundtrack.
4. I Want to Be Your Man (performed by Roger Troutman)
From his third studio album, (Unlimited), Roger Troutman produced the single, (I Want to Be Your Man), which topped the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked as high as number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. Internationally, it was a top forty hit among the nations of Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and New Zealand. This song is noted for Troutman’s natural tenor and trademarked talk-box. In the film, Love & Basketball, it was a welcome addition to the soundtrack as an R&B favorite. The popularity of this song continues to inspire artists, especially within the genres of hip-hop and R&B.
3. It Takes Two performed by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock)
The New York hip-hop duo, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, recorded and released (It Takes Two) in 1988, which became a number three hit single on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. It also became a number seventeen hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and a number thirty-six hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-four. It also became certified platinum hit by the Recording Industry Association (RIAA). It has since been recorded by a number of artists over the years, which seem to be in agreement that (It Takes Two) is among the greatest hip-hop singles ever cut. In the soundtrack, it is the original recording from the original artists that are featured on it.
2. Dance Tonight (performed by Lucy Pearl)
In March 2000, the sweet and sensual (Dance Tonight) by Lucy Pearl peaked at number thirty-six on the UK Billboard Hot 100 as well as the UK Singles Chart. This smooth, upbeat dance number peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and on the UK Hip Hop Hop and R&B Singles Chart. Among the nations of Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands, it was a top forty hit. At the 2001 Grammy Awards, it was nominated as Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group, but lost to Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.” This original version was featured on the Love & Basketball soundtrack as the album’s third single. The music video, shows the musical artists prepping to attend a dance party, cutting back and forth between them and various scenes from the movie.
1. Sweet Thing (performed by Rufus & Chaka Khan)
The mix of R&B and funk from Rufus, combined with the vocal talent of Chaka Khan was a number five hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1975. Although Mary J. Blige recorded an impressive version of the hit in 1993 that also charted, it was the original that would be featured in the Love & Basketball movie, as well as its soundtrack. Their original version became one of Chaka Khan’s signature songs. According to Essence Magazine, (Sweet Thing) has been considered one of the best slow jams of all time.