Combining live-action footage of real-life NBA stars like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird with animation of classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Joe Pytka’s 1996 triumph Space Jam was already a mashup of sorts. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s current Broadway smash Hamilton is a mashup, too, taking the story of an 18th century founding father and giving it a modern, hip-hop-infused soundtrack. So what happens when two mashups are themselves mashed up, largely because they both have an “am” sound in their names? The result is “Space Jamilton,” the creation of YouTuber Matthew Ahn, whose channel is otherwise a little sparse at the moment.
What Ahn has done here is to take the title song from Space Jam and splice its DNA with that of “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening track from Miranda’s historical musical. To Ahn’s credit, “Space Jam” and “Alexander Hamilton” work very nicely in tandem. It helps that the Hamilton track begins with a sparse arrangement, allowing the Space Jam theme to have a little breathing room in the early stages. Visually speaking, the mashup is minimalist. Ahn starts out by showing the familiar Hamilton logo, then replaces Hamilton’s head with that of Charles Barkley. Really, though, that simple substitution kind of says it all about this one.
Asked to comment on his creation, Ahn said he was inspired to create the mashup almost immediately upon hearing Miranda’s groundbreaking work:
I listened all the way through Hamilton for the first time last week after taking the bar exam. Having a reputation among my friends for going down weird rabbit holes (pun fully intended) and taking on high-effort projects with limited appeal, and already having a bit of an obsession with Space Jam theme song mashups, I think I processed it the only way my clearly broken brain could. I’ll be clear: Hamilton is a masterpiece, and as a musical theater person, I think it has the potential to break down barriers like only a few other musicals have. I also think that the less something is in the musical language of Space Jam, the more fun it is to hear the end result. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.