15. Rhyme & Reason
Release date: January 14, 1997
Record label: Priority
The great thing about rap documentaries back in the day: Even if the movies themselves weren't four-star affairs, the chances of their accompanying original soundtracks being of four-star quality were always high.
Case in point: Rhyme & Reason, an otherwise nondescript look at the hip-hop industry's inner workings that inspired an impressive gang of MCs to issue fresh cuts of the strongest quality. 8Ball & MJG stuck closest to the movie's themes with "Reason for Rhyme," while Mack 10 and Tha Dogg Pound combined for the left-coast anthem "Nothin' But the Cavi Hit." Touching all parts of the country, Rhyme and Reason headed to New Orleans for Master P's "Is There a Heaven 4 a Gangsta?" and shot up north for RZA's pre-Bobby Digital in Stereo solo single "Tragedy."
The soundtrack's toughest offering married highly respected lyricists from both the east and west coasts: One-upping each other with vicious punch lines over ghostly horns and boom-bap percussion, Ras Kass, Heltah Skeltah, and Canibus decimated the Rhyme & Reason knockout "Uni-4-Orm."