Most Valuable Needle-Drop: ‘Hustle’

Hustle Songs - Best Soundtrack Needle-Drop in the Netflix Movie

The Hustle soundtrack includes 18 credited tracks. This article breaks down the best needle-drops in Jeremiah Zagar’s 2022 Netflix movie. Check out more music guides and full track lists at Vague Visages’ Soundtracks of Cinema section.

Music supervisors Bryan Bonwell and Kevin Grady selected the featured needle-drops for Hustle. The duo previously worked with Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions for the Home Team soundtrack in 2021. Here are the best needle-drops in Hustle, a story about a Philadelphia 76ers scout who trains a Spanish prospect for the NBA Draft.

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Hustle Songs: Most Valuable Needle-Drop

Hustle Songs - Best Soundtrack Needle-Drop in the Netflix Movie

  • “Runnin’” by David Dallas (01:00:00): Stanley finishes a conversation with Bo. He tells him to “run” instead of stalling. The track scores a training montage.

The Hustle soundtrack song samples “New World in My View” by King Britt & Sister Gertrude Morgan. Overall, the needle-drop complements several key themes, as both Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler) and Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez) move on from past troubles while strengthening their friendship. The track accompanies a classic training sequence midway through the film, which sets the tone for character conflict in the final 60 minutes.

Runner-Up: “Partiéndonos La Madre” by Zarcourt feat. Kairo (01:18:00)

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Hustle Songs: Best Crate Digger Needle-Drop

Hustle Songs - Best Soundtrack Needle-Drop in the Netflix Movie

  • “Porque Te Vas” by Jeanette (00:29:00): Stanley visits the home of Bo and his mother, Paola (María Botto). The Hustle soundtrack song plays from within the residence. Paola speaks with Stanley about Bo’s childhood.

This is a rather poignant selection, as the title translates to “Because You Are Leaving.” There’s a sense of desperation as Stanley tracks down Bo; however, the mood changes due to Paola’s pleasant demeanor. She loves her son but recognizes an opportunity for him to leave home and pursue his basketball dreams. “Porque Te Vas” originally released in 1974.

Runner-Up: “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots feat. Cody Chesnutt (00:11:00)

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Hustle Songs: Best Party Needle-Drop

Hustle Songs - Best Soundtrack Needle-Drop in the Netflix Movie

  • “Gettin’ It” by Too Short (00:13:00): Stanley drops off Alex. He cruises around Philadelphia and listens to music. Stanley yells as the track plays.

The Hustle soundtrack song plays briefly yet informs audiences about Stanley’s position in life. He is psyched about being promoted to assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and hollers “Yeahhh” when the hip-hop track plays on the radio. Moments later, Stanley learns about the death of his mentor, Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall), resulting in a major vibe shift. For a few seconds, though, the protagonist feels genuine happiness. He’s able to temporarily forget about a life-changing drunk-driving incident from his college days. “Gettin’ It” works as a tone-setter for those who love to pre-game.

Runner-Up: “Street Talkin’” by Slick Rick (00:39:00)

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Hustle Songs: Best Nightcap Needle-Drop

Hustle Songs - Best Soundtrack Needle-Drop in the Netflix Movie

  • “It Never Entered My Mind” by The Miles Davis Quintet (00:18:00): Vince Merrick (Ben Foster) requests a “missing piece” for the 76ers. Stanley walks away after realizing that he’ll miss Alex’s birthday for the 10th consecutive year. He speaks with Teresa (Queen Latifah) at their home.

This scene highlights the strong chemistry between Sandler and Latifah. Stanley jokes about Teresa’s “horrifying feet” during a massage, with the Hustle soundtrack song functioning as musical therapy. It almost seems like the couple regularly listens to Miles Davis after a long day. And it’s not hard to imagine Stanley and Teresa enjoying a nightcap after discussing a little business. They have each other, and that’s all that matters in the moment.

Runner-Up: “Heaven” by Tierra Whack (01:36:00)

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Hustle released June 9, 2022 on Netflix.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.