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He Got Game Soundtrack: A Complete Guide

He Got Game is an iconic basketball film from the 90s. Written and directed by Basketball super-fan Spike Lee, it tells the story of a phenomenal teenage basketball player (Ray Allen) and his quest to make the NBA, even though the odds are stacked against him with his bad family life and tough surrounding environment. While Allen steals the show as Jesus Shuttlesworth, one of the most iconic elements of ‘He Got Game’ is the soundtrack to the movie which was performed by Public Enemy.

The ‘He Got Game’ Soundtrack, was released in April 1998 and was the first from Public Enemy since 1994. The album was completed on the Def Jam label and was recorded between June 1997 and February 1998. 

The title song of the Album also called ‘He Got Game’ may have a familiar sound to the song. You may be wondering what song did He Got Game sample? The He Got Game song used a sample from ‘For What it’s Worth’ by Buffalo Springfield.

The He Got Game Soundtrack track list was as follows:

He Got Game Soundtrack Track Listing

  1. “Resurrection” (featuring Masta Killa)
  2. He Got Game (featuring Stephen Stills)
  3. Unstoppable (featuring KRS-One)
  4. Shake Your Booty
  5. Is Your God a Dog
  6. House of the Rising Son
  7. Revelation 331⁄3 Revolutions
  8. Game Face (featuring Smoothe da Hustler)
  9. Politics of the Sneaker Pimps
  10. What You Need Is Jesus
  11. Super Agent
  12. Go Cat Go
  13. Sudden Death (Interlude)

We have included a link to the He Got Game album below, which is available on Spotify. 

He Got Game Album Cover

The He Got Game album cover features Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth. Jake is trying to get his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (Allen) to join a specific College called Big State in order to get early parole from prison. The album cover, pictured above, shows Jake’s determination behind the basketball. This was taken directly from the iconic movie poster, featuring almost the same image, pictured below.

Critics Review of He Got Game

Music critics were not hugely positive in their reviews of the He Got Game Soundtrack. The album was loved by basketball fans who had enjoyed the film and became a cult hit in that way. In terms of He Got Game being a rap album, the He Got Game soundtrack did not achieve the great heights possible for rap in 1998. For instance Tupac’s Greatest Hits was the number one rap album that year, which is understandable given Tupac’s death in 1996. Lauryn Hill and OutKast were also high up in the rap charts for 1998. Even the Dr Dolittle (starring Eddy Murphy) soundtrack outsold Public Enemy and was the tenth best selling rap album in 1998.

Unfortunately, the He Got Game soundtrack didn’t even get close in terms of sales to these albums. The Los Angeles Times said the following about the He Got Game soundtrack.

With Public Enemy, the issues are image and content. Rap audiences tend to be young and want their own heroes. For all its respect, PE is associated with another era in rap. The music, too, may be too restrained for the thug-life tone favoured by today’s mass rap audience.

Is Anyone Out there Listening, 5 July 1998, LA Times

Was the He Got Game Soundtrack a Commercial Success?

In short, no, in its opening week it sold 46,282 album copies which meant that the soundtrack reached its highest billboard entry at 26. The number one album at the time this soundtrack was released was another movie soundtrack, Titanic, which was having its 16th and final week at number 1. 


It should be noted that the title song ‘He Got Game’ has been played  more than 56 million times so far on Spotify.

He Got Game music video

The music video for the title song of the album He Got Game featured clips from the movie combined with images of Public Enemy rapping the song.

He Got Game Lyrics

The Lyrics of the title track of the He Got Game album are as follows

Yeah that’s right, this cut goes out to all y’all
That’s been missin’ us for mad years
One love, yo, yeah that’s right
He’s got game, PE 1998

If man is the father, the son is the center of the earth
In the middle of the universe
Then why is this verse comin’ six times rehearsed?
Don’t freestyle much but I write ’em like such (Word)
Amongst the fiends, controlled by the screens
What does it all mean all this shit I’m seein’?
Human beings screamin’ vocal javelins
Signs of a local nigga unravelin’ (Uh-huh)

My wandering, got my ass wondering
Where Christ is in all this crisis
Hatin’ Satan never knew what nice is
Check the papers while I bet on Isis
More than your eye can see and ears can hear
Year by year, all the sense disappears
Nonsense perseveres prayers laced with fear
Beware 2 triple O is near

It might feel good, it might sound a lil’ somethin’
But damn the game if it don’t mean nuttin’
What is game, who got game, where’s the game in life?
Behind the game, behind the game
I got game, she’s got game
We got game, they got game, he got game
It might feel good, it might sound a lil’ somethin’
But fuck the game if it ain’t sayin nuttin’

Damn was it somethin’ I said?
Pretend you don’t see so you turn your head
Race scared of it’s shadow, does it matter?
Thought of reperations got ’em playin’ wit the population
Nothing to lose, everything’s approved
People used even murders excused
White men in suits don’t have to jump
Still a thousand and one ways to lose with the shoes

God takes care of ol’ folks and fools (Uh)
While the Devil takes care of makin’ all the rules
Folks don’t even own themselves
Payin’ mental rent to corporate presidents
One out of one million residents
Being dissident, who ain’t kissin’ it?
The politics of chains and whips
Got the sick missin’ chips and all the championships

What’s love got to do with what you got?
Don’t let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart
Nonsense perseveres prayers laced with fear
Beware 2 triple O is near

It might feel good, it might sound a lil’ somethin’
But damn the game if it don’t mean nuttin’
What is game, who got game, where’s the game in life?
Behind the game, behind the game
I got game, she’s got game
We got game, they got game, he got game
It might feel good, it might sound a lil’ somethin’
But fuck the game if it ain’t sayin’ nuttin’

Yeah, that’s right everybody got game
We just here to let you all know
That PE is in full effect from right now
‘Til the year 2000
Ah yo my man sing it

There’s something happenin’ here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
(Yeah that’s right, haha)
Telling me that I got to beware
It’s time we stopped children
What’s that sound everybody look
What’s going down

Hey yo, I don’t think they heard ya Stephen
Kick it to them again, one more time

It’s time we stopped children
What’s that sound? Everybody look
What’s going down

That’s right boy PE in full effect boy
‘Til the year 2000, yo

Stop, look what’s that sound? (C’mon, sing)
Everybody knows what’s going down (Sing it again y’all, c’mon)
Stop, look what’s that sound (Hey, ha-hey!)
Everybody knows what’s going down

Hey yo
These are some serious times that we livin’ in G
And our new world order is about to begin
You know what I’m sayin’, now the question is
Are you ready for the real revolution
Which is the evolution of the mind?

If you seek then you shall find that we all come from the Divine
You dig what I’m sayin? Now if you take heed to the words of wisdom
That are written on the walls of life then universally we will stand
And divided we will fall ’cause love conquers all
You understand what I’m sayin’?

This is a call to all you sleepin’ souls
Wake up and take control of your own cycle
And be on the lookout for those spirits tonight trying to steal your light
You know what I’m sayin’, look what’s inside yourself for
Peace, give thanks, live life and release, you dig me, you got me?

Everybody knows what’s going down
Stop, look what’s that sound?
Everybody knows what’s going down

He Got Game Album Sales

How many sales did the He Got Game Album sell? The He Got Game album sold 46,282 albums in the first week. Although the album was loved by basketball fans it wasn’t the commercial successes that was hope for.

He Got Game Ending Song

What was the song played at the end of He Got Game? The song played at the end of He Got Game was the song He Got Game which was written and performed by Public Enemy.

What sample was used on He Got Game?

What sample was used on He Got Game? Buffalo Springfield’s, For What its Worth was sampled by Public Enemy on the song He Got Game.

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