The High and Mighty–12th Man (2005) review

Jacob Borowsky (’16)/ Eastside Sports Editor

“The Clearance Aisle” is a column where a different album found in the $1.00 and up section of the local record store will be reviewed each Wednesday. The aim of the column is to bring albums that are quite literally unheard of to the light. Essentially, “The Clearance Aisle” is the return of strictly underground music to the underground section. In this column, The High and Mighty’s album 12th Man, found at Voorhees’s Tunes for $1, is reviewed.

6.5/10

12thman

The High and Mighty are a hip-hop duo from Philadelphia made up of rapper Mr. Eon and rapper-producer DJ Mighty Mi. 12th Man is their fourth studio album as a duo. Previously, the group has collaborated with rappers Mos Def, Kool Keith, Pharaoh Monch and even Eminem. Since their debut album Home Field Advantage (1999), however, the group has been very low-key. The album features Brooklyn rapper Sean Price, Reef the Lost Cause, Tame One and Princess Supastar.

The album is entirely produced by DJ Mighty Mi. Mi uses a lot of very deep, heavy beats and loves mixing in a lot of vocal and instrumental samples. Samples taken include selections from classic hip-hop history like Boogie Down Productions and Redman, as well as assorted lines taken from television shows like “the Simpsons” and “SNL.” Mi likes to add vocal samples into verses for Eon to rhyme with, like on “String Music,” which features samples from Clipse, D.I.T.C. and many more. Mi’s reliance on mixing samples from all corners of hip-hop and pop culture gives the album a distinct sound.

Generally, the beats on the album are very odd; many of the songs have unconventional, dark melodies and slow, menacing beats. “Unholy Matrimony” and “Crack the Egg” both have long, drawn-out harmonies hummed by women, which give the songs a disturbing but interesting feel. To contrast, some tracks, like the opening track “Garbage Time,” on which Mi uses xylophone and loud trumpets and vocal samples littered throughout, are faced-paced and exciting.

As for the lyrical content of the album, Mr. Eon raps nearly the entire tape, on which there is no central theme. Eon has a grimy, slow, mid-pitch voice, and flows well over Mi’s ominous beats. He primarily uses an intricate multi-syllabic rhyme pattern, like on “Garbage Time,” when he says, “It’s surround sound High & Mighty clownin’ your whole town/ pound that bass/ heavy metal rebel treble from dirty decibels the sound is clear” and “It’s that too true crew decked up in Nike shoes.”

While at times it sounds like Eon may be falling behind on beats, he meshes well with Mighty Mi and uses impressively complex rhyming schemes.

Overall, 12th Man is a decent look into the world of sample-oriented underground hip-hop. DJ Mighty Mi’s production is the album’s highlight, but by all means, Mr. Eon’s rapping only contributes positively to the record.