18. High School High
Release date: September 10, 1996
Record label: Big Beat/Atlantic
An early predecessor to the spoof film likes of Scary Movie and Meet the Spartans, the reasonably funny High School High starred Jon Lovitz as the white dude who steps into an urban high school and changes the lives of its most troubled students. Moviegoers weren't begging for a send-up of flicks like Dangerous Minds and Stand and Deliver, but considering that it spawned a 20-song soundtrack that was miraculously devoid of any crappy filler, no one with an ear for quality hip-hop complained.
The LP's best track was also its biggest single: "Wu-Wear: The Garment Renaissance," a four-minute commercial/record on which RZA, Method Man, and Cappadonna kill it so convincingly that, if revisited today, you may still find yourself looking for Wu Wallabees on eBay. Across the board, High School High is tailor-made for heads who prefer substance in their hip-hop. The Roots get gully on "The Good, the Bad, and the Desolate," New Jersey underground stalwarts the Artifacts get braggadocios on "The Ultimate," and legends Large Professor and Pete Rock join forces for the state-of-affairs cut "The Rap World."