Method Man & Redman Release the Film ‘How High’ – Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Dec. 21, in hip-hop history...
2001: Two of hip-hop's most acclaimed lyricists, Method Man and Redman, became a new generation's version of Cheech & Chong when their feature film, How High, premiered in theaters on Dec. 21, 2001.
Fresh off of the heels of their wildly successful 1999 joint album, Blackout!, which featured a remixed version of their first official collaboration, "How High," the 1995 hit off of The Show's soundtrack, Wu-Tang member Method Man and Def Squad member Redman linked up with first-time film director Jesse Dylan to put together a cult-classic stoner film for the ages.
Written by Dustin Lee Abraham, How High tells the story of Silas and Jamal, a pair of ganja-chiefing buddies played by Meth and Red respectively. After burning down a blunt full of bud that was fertilized with the ashes of Silas' deceased homie, Ivory, on the way in to take their entrance exams for college, the ghost of Ivory appears. With the ghost only being visible to whoever smoked his remains, the otherworldly being hooks up Silas and Jamal with all of the correct test answers, resulting in the pair of burnouts achieving unprecedented perfect scores. The duo end up enrolling at Harvard University and hilarity ensues as Silas and Jamal do everything they can to maintain a GPA of 2.0 in order to keep their Ivy League status. The next 90-plus minutes are full of hysterical trials and tribulations, with both protagonists landing the relationships they've been pursuing, and being allowed to stay enrolled at Harvard. All's well that ends well for the characters portrayed by two of the best MCs to ever rock the mic.
Despite the flick being mostly panned with negative reviews from critics across the board, Meth and Red's charisma and chemistry carried How High into the hearts of fans, earning its cult classic status by the very definition of the term. The film grossed $7,102,260 in its opening weekend, remained in theaters for 10 weeks straight and has grossed a total of $31,283,740 to date.
The feature film was accompanied by a successful soundtrack, which dropped a week prior to the film's release in 2001, and mostly featured tracks from Meth and Red along with a few popular songs from artists like DMX, Limp Bizkit and Ludacris. The album peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard 200 and No. 6 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
How High paved the way for rap's dynamic duo to land their own TV show, Method & Red, which only ran on Fox for a couple of months in 2004 due to the fact that the "Run 4 Cover" MCs were not happy with their lack of creative control.
A highly-anticipated sequel to the film is currently in the works, with production starting this past September. How High 2 will feature a starring role from rapper Lil Yachty, and there is a petition circulating that calls for the film's inclusion of Method Man and Redman, who have yet to be cast to appear in the follow-up.
17 years since its premiere, How High is a film that holds its place among classics like Friday, CB4, The Wash, House Party and Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood as one of the great comedies in hip-hop history.
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