As someone who grew up in the 1990’s, the Jock Jams series of songs were everywhere in my life. I heard them at sporting events- like, all sporting events. I heard them at junior high and high school dances. I heard wedding parties use them to as introduction music. They were everywhere.
And even though some of the songs weren’t great, or even very good, there is something about these massive ESPN-produced mixtapes (all released under the Tommy Boy Music label) that just feels fun. That being said, why just enjoy nostalgia when you can, instead, over-analyze and use math to suck out all the fun of these songs so you can rank which Jock Jams album is the best one?
Hey, everyone… let’s get ready to rumble.
In order to find the best Jock Jams compilation, I first ranked every song from all five volumes using two criteria. The first criteria was, “How good is this song?” and while that seems important, it was the lesser of the two categories. Because the second criteria was something I found a lot more important: “How much of a (jock) jam is this song?”
Of the 77 songs I ranked, there is probably no better song on the list than Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, yet that song is only 21st on my list because while it is a great song, it’s not a Jock Jam. I don’t remember hearing this song while the high school basketball team took practice lay-ups. Sure, the song was present, and yeah, it was a jam… but it wasn’t a JOCK JAM.
This is why the number one song is 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready For This”. Just think of the phrase Jock Jams. Is “Get Ready For This” playing? Of course it is. Because it is the ultimate jam for the jocks.
Once I ranked the songs, I assigned each song a number where the worst song received one point and we began working up the list until the best Jock Jam got the maximum 77 points. I added up the total points from each of the five albums, divided that by the total number of tracks (to avoid a density bias), and was given a number that I call, “The Jock Jams Rating”.
I will include the master song ranking at the end of this piece, but you should know that I had two rules I stuck by. The first is that I removed any megamix track, mostly because the songs that were all smushed together into one song were all included as individual tracks on other mixes. The second is that “Rock & Roll, Part 2” by Gary Glitter had to be dead last, because fuck that creepy dude.
Ok, now that we’ve established that, let’s see how these compilations faired.
#5. Jock Jams 5 (1999)
Jock Jams Rating: 29.13
Highest Ranked Song: “We Like To Party”- Vengaboys (#8)
Summary: It’s easy to see why this is the last Jock Jams in the franchise, because it often feels like a Now! That’s What I Call Music with a sports announcer on it. Remixes by Busta Rhymes, Next, and Usher are nice, and I love Madonna’s “Ray Of Light”, but these aren’t the songs we’ve come to expect from this series.
#4. Jock Jams 3 (1997)
Jock Jams Rating: 35.69
Highest Ranked Song: “Cotton Eye Joe”- Rednex (#6)
Summary: Even with four songs in the top 20 (and six in the top 25), this album doesn’t have the star power to be up there with the big boys. The bench players here (Funky Green Dogs, Sabrina Sang, The Jellyheads) hold back what is a pretty impressive opening salvo of heavy hitters.
#3. Jock Jams 2 (1996)
Jock Jams Rating: 36.41
Highest Ranked Song: “I Like To Move It”- Reel 2 Real (#2)
Summary: Again, another compilation with big Jock Jams hitters (Montell Jordan, Coolio, The Outhere Brothers). But rounding those out are duds by artists like The Goodmen, Strafe, and a Cece Penniston song that isn’t “Finally”.
#2. Jock Jams 4 (1998)
Jock Jams Rating: 41.07
Highest Ranked Song: “Push It”- Salt-n-Pepa
Summary: “Space Jam” by Quad City DJs, Will Smith getting jiggy, House Of Pain jumping around… there’s no question why this is one of the better entries in the franchise.
#1. Jock Jams 1 (1995)
Jock Jams Rating: 53.40
Highest Ranked Song: “Get Ready For This”- 2 Unlimited (#1)
Summary: Even with the song with the lowest rating (and “YMCA” by The Village People”), this is still the undisputed champ. Four songs in the top 10. Five more between #11-#26. This is just a sweet collection of Jock Bops that grabs you and refuses to let you go. This is the Dream Team of Jock Jams.
The Master Jock Jams Song Ranking
(Number in parenthesis indicates what Jock Jams the song appears on)
- Get Ready For This- 2 Unlimited (1)
- I Like To Move It- Reel 2 Real (2)
- Push It- Salt-n-Pepa (4)
- This Is How We Do It-Montell Jordan (2)
- Come Baby Come- K7 (1)
- Cotton Eye Joe- Rednex (3)
- Gonna Make You Sweat- C&C Music Factory (1)
- We Like To Party- Vengaboys (5)
- The Power- Snap (1)
- Whoomp! There It Is- Tag Team (1)
- Jump Around-House Of Pain (4)
- Boom Boom Boom- The Outhere Brothers (2)
- C’mon Ride The Train- Quad City DJS (3)
- Let Me Clear My Throat- DJ Kool (3)
- 1 2 3 4 (Sumpin New)- Coolio (2)
- Hip Hop Hooray- Naughty By Nature (1)
- Pump Up The Jam- Technotronic (1)
- Tootsee Roll- 69 Boyz (1)
- Da Dip- Freak Nasty (3)
- Getting’ Jiggy Wit’ It- Will Smith (4)
- Mo Money Mo Problems- Notorious B.I.G. (4)
- No Diggity- Blackstreet (3)
- Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)- Backstreet Boys (4)
- I Like It Like That- Tito Nieves (3)
- Unbelievable- EMF (1)
- It Takes Two- Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (1)
- Ray Of Light- Madonna (5)
- Everybody Everybody- Black Box (2)
- Tubthumping- Chumbawumba (4)
- Pump Up The Volume- M/A/R/R/S (1)
- Strike It Up- Black Box (1)
- Ready To Go- Republica (3)
- Turn It Up (Remix)- Busta Rhymes (5)
- Going Out Of My Head- Fatboy Slim (4)
- Miami- Will Smith (5)
- One More Night- Amber (4)
- That’s The Way I Like It- KC & The Sunshine Band (3)
- Space Jam- Quad City DJs (4)
- Too Close (Remix)- Next (5)
- Get Down Tonight- KC & The Sunshine Band (2)
- All I Have To Give (remix)- Backstreet Boys (5)
- No Limit – 2 Unlimited (2)
- Nice & Slow (Remix)- Usher(5)
- Macarena – Los Del Mar (2)
- What’s Up- DJ Miko (2)
- We Got A Love Thang- Cece Penniston (2)
- YMCA- Village People (1)
- This Is Your Night- Amber (2)
- Get Ready To Bounce- Brooklyn Bounce (4)
- Twilight Zone- 2 Unlimited (1)
- Got To Be Real- Cheryl Lynn (5)
- Can You Feel It- 3rd Party (4)
- Jump!- The Movement (3)
- Macho Man- Village People (2)
- Burnin’ Up- Cevin Fisher (5)
- Party- Dis N Dat (2)
- Mueve La Cadera (Move Your Body)- Reel 2 Real (4)
- Supersonic Love- Sabrina Sang (3)
- Suavamente (remix)- Elvis Crespo (5)
- Tribal Dance- 2 Unlimited (3)
- Set It Off- Strafe (2)
- I’m Gonna Get You- Bizarre, Inc. (5)
- The Chicken Dance- Ray Castoldi (3)
- Don’t Stop Moving- Livin’ Joy (3)
- Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here (remix)- Deborah Cox (5)
- Give It Up- The Goodmen (2)
- Crush- The Jellyheads (3)
- The Bomb- The Bucketheads (2)
- Raise The Roof- Luke (4)
- Mexican Hat Dance- Ray Castoldi (5)
- Reach Up- Perfecto All-Stars (5)
- Fired Up- Funky Green Dogs (3)
- Robi Rob’s Boriqua Anthem- C&C Music Factory (3)
- Feel It- Tamperer feat. Maya (5)
- Beautiful Day- Hypertrophy (4)
- Happy & You Know It- Ray Castoldi (2)
- Rock N Roll Part 2- Gary Glitter (1)