Dancing, especially of the exotic kind, wouldn’t be complete without a soundtrack of bangers. The Hustlers soundtrack gets it and interweaves some of the more typical strip club fair (Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me” and Cardi B’s “Money), feminist anthems (Remy Ma’s “Conceited” and Janet Jackson’s “Control”), and some songs that are completely unique to the DNA of Hustlers (Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and Lorde’s “Royals”).
Lopez, who plays the lead role of Ramona, discussed her character’s entrance music extensively with Hustlers’ writer and director, Lorene Scafaria, before settling on the iconic song “Criminal” by Fiona Apple. The song has previously never been licensed for a movie before, making it a huge moment in the film — and the unforgettable scene where we meet Lopez’s character.
“Lorene said, ‘What about “Criminal” by Fiona Apple? I was like, hmm, ‘I’ve been a bad, bad girl...’ [I said] ‘I love it, let’s do it! That’s exactly what [Ramona] is.’ So the first time you see her she’s dancing to ‘Criminal,’ it’s such a perfect thing,” Lopez exclaimed.
And, if you can believe it, that instantly iconic moment almost didn’t happen — Lopez threw out the idea of a woman covering Chris Isaak’s slowgrind classic “Wicked Game” instead. Thank goodness Scafaria talked her out of it.
Songs such as “Control” and “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson were part of the original script music choices. If you’re a longtime J.Lo fan you probably remember that Lopez made one of her first music video appearances in Jackson’s video for “That’s the Way Love Goes,” and has cited Jackson as one of her biggest influences as an artist.
“I was a huge Janet Jackson fan, like the reason I started singing and dancing was because of ‘Pleasure Principle,’” said Lopez in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Additionally, so was “Royals” by Lorde. Though she had historically never allowed options for her music in films, Scafaria managed to convince Lorde that “Royals” was perfect for one of the film’s final scenes where the crime ring is arrested, flowing well with the theme of the song’s criticism of greed and materialism.
Scafaria leaned on Lopez, who personally contacted Cardi B to get her in the movie and her hot track “Money” as a prominent marketing piece to soundtrack the trailer.
Finally, as most of us probably thought, no movie with an all-woman cast would be complete without pop royalty Britney Spears, so of course “Gimme More” is featured in the film after Lopez and Constance Wu’s characters make their first big purchase of a new car after beginning their schemes together.
Spotify has created a special playlist of all the songs featured in the film for your listening pleasures after enjoying the film.