Head coach Mike Hathaway at one of the first football practices of the season at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

If they didn’t know already, now they do.

Leavitt Area High School football coach Mike Hathaway is also a science teacher at the school. During the spring, his physics class found out he’s a big old-school hip-hop fan. 

A student in that class, Jake Janke, is a rapper and music producer, and he started talking to Hathaway and the class about rap music and the differences between today’s style and the 1990s. 

“We were having a talk about old-school rap and what they listen to now, and a couple of the kids listen to some old-school stuff and listen to some new stuff,” Hathaway said. “We were kind of having an argument about it one day, so he told me that if I came up with my top 25 he would put them all into a playlist and he would listen to one every night to help him with his music.”

The list started on Twitter, with No. 25 being Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” that was released in 1995. The list is a tour through the ’90s with albums from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and more. 

Wu Tang Clan has two albums on the list as a group, including Hathaway’s top-ranked album “Enter the 36 Chambers.” The coach’s affinity for the New York group stems from his days in college. 

“Wu Tang was number one for me, and it was around the time that that Showtime special (“Of Mics and Men”) came out,” Hathaway said. “I went to college in the South (Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina) and Wu Tang is an East Coast group, more northern from New York, but in our locker room down there, it was a lot of East Coast rap at the time. Hear that stuff enough and you start to get into it more.”

The list also includes solo albums from Wu Tang members, such as GZA’s “Liquid Swords” album and Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.”

The list caught people’s attention on Twitter as Hathaway would post a few albums a week. Hathaway’s son, Wyatt, a junior at Leavitt and the Hornets’ starting quarterback, was watching Twitter with everyone else and didn’t agree with his picks. 

“He gave me a couple hints but kept most of it secret,” Wyatt Hathaway said. “I told him he had to rethink some of it.”

Wyatt says his father makes him listen to old-school hip-hop in the car and, as a result, he has mixed it into his rotation along with newer rappers. 

“I still get some old stuff in there,” Wyatt Hathaway said. “Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Lil Baby is new. Migos, a little bit of that. Kanye. Kendrick, J. Cole.”

Mike Hathaway says he doesn’t know any of the new rappers that Wyatt or his middle child and freshman football player, Sawyer, listen to. 

“Sometimes when my kids are in the car with me and I’m forced to listen to that stuff, but I couldn’t tell you who any of those people are,” Mike Hathaway said. “I try to get the Sirius on (channel) 43 once in a while so I can show my kids what I listened to. He is forced to listen.”

With the football season beginning, Mike Hathaway told tight end/defensive end Cole Morin to put together a playlist of old-school rap.

“I liked it, honestly,” Morin said. “He had me put together a playlist for the guys. He texted me and said, ‘I need you to make a playlist for me. Straight ’90s rap.’

“Then he gave me that list. I was like, ‘OK, I can do it.’ Now we have a two-and-a-half-hour playlist ready to go. I like Wu Tang, Mobb Deep. I know he’s an Ice Cube guy, so I had to put a lot of that.”

Morin, Wyatt Hathaway, Keegan Melanson and Cam Jordan, all Hornets players, gave the Sun Journal a top-five albums that they’re listening to, in no particular order. 

The list is Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City,” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die,” Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV,” Migos’ “Culture,” and Travis Scott’s “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.” 

Of the five albums delivered by the players, only “Ready To Die” was released in the ’90s. The next earliest album release is Kendrick Lamar’s GKMC in 2012.

The playlist Morin made for his coach will be the soundtrack of what the Hornets expect to be a successful fall.

“We’ll pump that in the locker room and on the field a little bit,” Mike Hathaway said.

Sun Journal staff writer Adam Robinson’s top 25 hip-hop albums:

1. Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
2. Lil Wayne – “Tha Carter III”
3. Lil Uzi Vert – “Luv is Rage 2″
4. Kendrick Lamar – “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”
5. Jay-Z – “The Black Album”
6. Travis Scott – “Rodeo”
7. Kanye West – “College Dropout”
8. Lil Wayne – “Tha Carter V”
9. Kanye West and Jay Z – “Watch The Throne”
10. Kendrick Lamar – “DAMN”
11. Kid Cudi – “Man On The Mood”
12. Eminem – “Relapse”
13. Tyler, The Creator – “Goblin”
14. Lil Uzi Vert – “Luv is Rage”
15. Kanye West – “Yeezus”
16. A$AP Rocky – “Long Live A$AP”
17. Drake – “Nothing Was The Same”
18. Kendrick Lamar – “Section.80”
19. Travis Scott – “Astroworld”
20. Outkast – “Stankonia”
21. Drake – “Take Care”
22. Tyler, The Creator – “Flower Boy”
23. Future – “Dirty Sprite 2″
24. Kanye West – “Ye”
25. K’Naan – “Troubadour”

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