The Highlite Zone

Artist: The High & MightyTitle: The Highlite ZoneRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

The High & Mighty is one of hip-hop’s most well-respected crews. While they keep it defiantly underground, Mr. Eon and Mighty Mi have harbored an undying love for the hip-hop of yesterday that’s reflected greatly in their music. Few realize that their 1999 full length debut, Home Field Advantage, was instrumental in making Rawkus a meaningful label. After MCA sugar-daddied Rawkus, High & Mighty returned to Philly to throttle Eastern Conference Records into a great indie. The label houses both new and veteran artists while being one of the most promotional-giving labels still in hip-hop. It’s hard to believe E and Mi found time to drop their second full length LP.

The Highlite Zone builds where the duo left off: lots of sports and old school hip-hop references mixed with cut and chop production. Right from the start, a much-needed, and very original track rests in “Take it Off.” Not about strippers, this track attacks the throw-back, or the imitators. After all, these two have been wearing old school jerseys as long as anybody. Another conversation-worthy track is “How to Rob an Actor,” which features Michael Rappaport lyrically attacking his peers. Adrien Brody was hurt, and he should be. Most of the tracks are true to Mr. Eon’s classic format of bragging, and throwing very original similes, punchlines and, of course, a lot of sexual content.

Mighty Mi is one of hip-hop’s best producers. His efforts pay homage to the way hip-hop has always been made, while still adding appropriating innovations. While others have tried, Mighty Mi put Roots beat boxer Rahzel’s efforts to their best use in “Rock the House.” This track is energetic, fun, and tremendously old school. Also, like all the great DJ/producers, there is also provided a DJ cut with, “Mighty Mi is Clickums.” Unlike many, the production behind High & Mighty has always been created to sound really good in the box and remains one of their best attributes.

While this album may lack the budget of the last, this record still suffices. Guest spots from Copywrite and Vast Aire work as well as most outside drops. High & Mighty have cultivated a unique and unchanging sound. If you liked it then, you’ll love it now.