Atlantic Records released the single, “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem),” for the 1996 kid’s Looney Tunes film, Space Jam, this day in 1997. The song was produced by the Trackmasters and featured appearances from B Real of Cypress Hill, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes.
The song is well-known for five prominent hip hop artists, at the peak of their respective careers, collaborating to make a dope hard-hitting soundtrack for [I repeat] a children’s cartoon film. The song contains several references to basketball plays, monsters and space; hence its inclusion in the film. The black and white music video, directed by Hype Williams, displays scenes from the film as well as the rappers sporting basketball jerseys and rapping on a court.
Despite not charting on any U.S. single chart, “Hit ‘Em High” proved successful in many foreign countries. It peaked at #8 in Ireland charts, #8 in UK Singles, #4 in the Netherlands and #14 in Germany, among several other European chart positions. Additionally, the entire Space Jam Soundtrack fared exceptionally well, becoming 6x RIAA Certified Platinum in January of 2001 and peaking at #69 on the U.S. Billboard 200. “Hit ‘Em High” portrays an interesting, yet potentially mature, hip hop collaboration in a film typically not associated with hip hop music. For that, we thank you Atlantic Records, for making this happen during our childhoods.