He Got Game—Public Enemy (He Got Game Movie Soundtrack,1998)
“I was raised in the days of Isaac Hayes’ Shaft, Curtis Mayfield doing Superfly and other artists doing entire soundtracks for films. And Spike Lee approached us in that same way. Not only would he do the score for He Got Game, he was going to do another album for the soundtrack. And Spike felt Public Enemy should be the one act to do the soundtrack. Spike said it would be a project that was worthwhile for the Bomb Squad to all come back together and work as one. Hank Shocklee was at the helm; Spike was at the helm of the movie. And Spike gave me a postcard of 15 to 20 different subjects on it, which I turned it into lyrics.
He Got Game as an album is one of my best lyrical jobs. I was able to utilize my love of sports, particularly basketball. I have metaphors on that album that went past cats. I knew sports. I wanted to be a sportscaster. I liked rhyming and I liked the execution of the vocals and I put a lot of things on that album that could hit cats today. With ‘He Got Game’ the song, myself and Hank knocked it out vocally in Atlanta. And then Hank masterfully did a great job on it in New York getting Stephen Stills to actually play on the song. The collaboration was a work of genius. It was Spike’s idea to use Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth.’ But we had respect for records, so we felt, ‘Look, if we are going to go ahead and do this we have to take it to the next level.’ I didn’t want to desecrate the meaning of the record. We felt confident it would work. And it did.”