Music and Motherhood Elevate ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Perfectly

Spider-Verse took its 2nd step on the road to becoming one of the dopest animated franchises in history. Yeah, we’re going there with the early GOAT praise pa! Name a better original and sequel! Don’t worry, I’ll wait..

What you got? Shrek 1 & 2? Cars? Toy Story? Respect to Shrek for being nominated for best picture of the year, but part 2 wasn’t even all that. Cars 1 and 2 are dope, but I’m putting Spider-Verse ahead of them, and I don’t think anyone not named Omar would disagree. Toy Story will forever be a top 5 animated movie series, but Spider-Verse has pushed this genre forward the same way that Toy Story and Shrek legitimized them during a time when stereotypical responses of “I don’t watch cartoons” or “Go see an animated movie? Those are for kids” were all too common when you asked someone if they planned to check out those films. Spider-Verse though?! Folx of all cultures, backgrounds, and regions are lining up to inject this visual and audio dopamine into their veins with no regard!

Ok ok, I’ve talked my ish enough, let’s get into the real reason you’re here. That music and mother-son connection!! Let’s start off with the universally appreciated lane of dope music. Maaannn, if you would’ve told me that this movie was going to deliver some of the illest music to vibe to all summer I would’ve looked at you wild skeptical. Metro Boomin is dope, but I wouldn’t consider him a top 5 producer. Now?! Sheeeiiittttt, he just might be top 2 after this performance! While Into the Spider-Verse blessed us with 1 gargantuan mega hit in Swae Lee and Post Malone’s “Sunflower,” this album right here has hit after hit after perfectly aligned hit! 

Ok so check it out. The opening scene of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is paired with a song too perfect for its own good. I’m talking bout knock the tube socks off your golden age of comics loving grandpa good. I’m saying that this scene right here my ninja, is putting Nightcrawler’s opening scene from X2 on notice fam! Gwen Stacy is our narrator, and she catches everyone up on what went down in Into the Spider-Verse before diving into her own tragic backstory as Coi Leray absolutely obliterates her song “Self Love” playing in the background.

The melodic cut is infectious as it reverberates in your soul with magnetic synths and soothing vocals that guide us to yet another dreadful moment in a Spidey’s life; this time it’s Gwen losing her first love. 

“Self-Love” – Coi Leray

The lyrics of the chorus serve as a double entendre, working as appropriately for Miles as it does for her universe’s Peter Parker. “Self-love / he don’t love himself / tryna love me” Peter didn’t love himself enough to be the confident boyfriend Gwen needed, but instead took the Lizard transformation juice and caught the incidental RIPs at the hands of his boo and shoddy infrastructure. Equally, Miles has lingering issues of mistrust stemming from the revelation that his beloved Unc was the fiendish Prowler. This song and scene (with the help of the astounding visuals) set the tone of the AtSV and allowed me to become fully entranced in the first 10 mins of the movie. That’s how it’s done people!


“Silk and Cologne” – Ei8ht and Offset

As we get to the Morales rooftop promotion party, “Silk and Cologne” begins to play, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for that celebratory scene. Paying tribute to Miles’ families Puerto Rican roots, Ei8ht is serving up heavy handed Caribbean flavor on this one. If you feel like you’ve never heard of Ei8ht, it’s because this is the official debut of the Bajan artist, but you wouldn’t have a clue by the way they body this track. Offset spits some decent lyrics flexing his rizz and bravado to add some grittiness to the otherwise lovely bop.

Now, I need y’all to listen up closely right, because I’m about to put you on to the song that I predict will be the sleeper jam people keep talking about and bumping casually, just like “Sunflower” from ITSV. No boasting about an impressive roster of artists or any wild punchlines, because it’s just James Blake blessing us with the white-boy bops we were promised years ago and never got! Mark my words that “Hummingbird” will take over the airwaves if given the soundtrack single treatment. 

“Hummingbird” – James Blake

As Miles lays down on his bed and puts his headphones on, we are transported to Blakeland. A wacky, Funhouse-esqu intro to the song perks your ears up to question “What in the fresh spider hell is about to come out of these speakers?”. Then cool as a penguin sippin iced tea in stunna shades, James Blake slides up in there and vehemently waxes poetic on the track, delivering a jam that is a soft banger, but a banger no less. Miles doesn’t see the portal opening, the things in his room floating in trippy pastel fashion, or Gwen coming in hot for their first encounter in a year.


James Blake’s “Hummingbird” goes hard on all the classic themes: hope, beauty, and love. A hummingbird is one hell of a metaphor as their beauty is uncanny, and they can be used to find the sweet things in life, just as Miles needs someone to help bring “my life back”. Perhaps too fitting, this was “The moment when you realize, There’s someone there that needs you” for Gwen and that is something that will help her navigate through life’s challenges.

“Annihilate” – Metro, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne and Offset

A couple more album cuts make their way into the movie like Metro, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, and Offset’s “Annihilate”. Lil Wayne goes off on the spider references which allows you to transport yourself into the universe of amazing Spider people. Not only does it allow you to get into the mood for all Spidey everything, but it also puts you into the mentality of someone who dons the red and webbed mask to get ready for another day of web slinging and enemy flinging. This was perfect since Swae Lee’s lyrics play, “I just come to my senses / I stay in another dimension / Fear is not existent / Suit up and swing through the city” in that cool, buttery voice of his as Miles and Gwen swing through the city after she surprises our boy with her impromptu visit. Phil Lord and Chris Miller knew they had to get Swae Lee back for the sequel, so he could go hard on the first song of the soundtrack.


“Am I Dreaming” – Roisee & A$AP Rocky

“Am I Dreaming” plays much later in the movie, but it comes out ready to snatch your Spider loving soul with such a beautiful violin matched with the sultry chorus from Roisee. I’d say Rihanna and fatherhood look good on A$AP Rocky, cuz my man’s hasn’t missed since we found out he was dating one of the biggest stars in the world.

“All the Way Live” kicks things into high gear while still maintaining a relatively mellow vibe, a signature of this movie universe. “Danger (Spider)” is bearable, solely because of the fact that JID goes off, as per usual, and helps us forget Offset’s “shpider” mediocrity. 

Swae Lee checks in with another banger. This time he has the help of Nav and A Boogie. “Calling” boasts lyrics like “Just to save you / I give alllll of me,” and Bast dam I haven’t heard such a simplistic line that sums up the Spider-Man/Woman mentality! “Link Up” continues the trend of Metro Boomin having complete command of these soundtrack and movie match-ups. He puts together a group of artists from so many walks of life, and my gawd do they lean on, build off of, and mesh well with each other. And don’t get me started on the Red Rat hey you girl inna “Tight Up Skirt” sample on the track!!


As I mentioned, the soundtrack contains hits on hits, and I could go on for days about how I become immersed right back in the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse anytime I play my favorite 6-7 songs. But let’s leave a little mystery for those who haven’t bumped the album yet and switch gears to the other reason why I had to see AtSV for a second time immediately.

Miles and Mom Dukes Make Movie Magic

Onto the most touching moment of the entire film; that beautiful scene between our boy and his madre, Rio Morales. Gwen pulls a swift exit after Miles’ mom and dad do their best Bad Boys II impersonation, hit him with the stereotypical but all too real proposition that she probably doesn’t even know how to speak Spanish, and the shift in his mood goes from Ant-Man to Drax with the quickness.


Rio’s moment of realization is portrayed so well by this fire animation team, then it’s time to get down to mom business. She gives Mr. Morales the “I got this” nod of GTFOH approval, and the stage is set for an incredibly tender moment between mother and son.

Sidebar: “I hope I didn’t ice your game man” had me dying. Great comedic interjection before the heartstrings get tugged on.

It’s just hard seeing my little man not be my little boy all the time.” is a quote that mothers will resonate with. As she straightens up Miles’ shirt, Rio looks at her son with a stoic pride that radiates off the screen. She makes him promise to protect his inner child while he makes his way through this cold world that, unbeknownst to her, he is protecting with his life.

Going back to the Coi Leray track, self-love is a big theme of this movie and Miles has to love the man he is becoming if he really wants to be able to stand on his own two feet and become fully realized. This scene between him and his mother gives Miles the “you got this” nod of motherly approval that can move a man to climb mountains and shatter records, or chase after the girl of his teen dreams.

Most of us can relate to the love and support of a parent that filled you with the confidence and bravado that leads you to achieving what would have been otherwise unfathomable. That’s why this scene resonated with me so much. The music and motherhood all throughout Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is what has me itching to watch the movie for a 3rd time in 2 weeks. What scenes made the movie for you?

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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