2001 was a busy year for the underground due from Philly, Mr. Eon & DJ Mighty Mi, otherwise known as The High & Mighty. They released the critically acclaimed Smut Peddlers album to start the year off right and ended it with the solid Eastern Conference All-stars II compilation album. Wasting no time, The High & Mighty are back at it once again with a brand new album, "Air Force 1"
Consisting of a solid 8 Joints (2 skits), "Air Force 1" is more in the EP fashion, however it is quite possibly the groups strongest effort to date. Without a doubt, what makes "Air Force 1" spectacular is the production aspect, which modestly put is bangin. Never known for his lyrical skills, Mr. Eon is usually overshadowed by his partner in crime Might Mi. Basically carrying the group since day one, Mighty Mi is definitely one of the finest underground producers in the industry. However on "Air Force 1" we finally see a coming together or meshing of the two sides.
Tracks like the brilliantly put together "Might Mi In The Land Of Deadstock", "More In Outs" featuring Cage, and "Illadel Jackmove" not only feature amazing production, but find Mr. Eon stepping up his game to levels beyond normalcy. His rugged flow and sometimes sharp wordplay definitely see some major improvement on "Air Force 1". However, one would only be kidding themselves if they told you they bought a High & Mighty album for its lyrical content. Production is where this album stands heads above the competition. Mighty Mi continues his tremendous effort behind the boards but it's the contribution from outside sources that truly stands out on "Air Force 1".
Gathering some of the best producers in the game, such as up and coming superstar Reef, the original and witty J-Zone and Ayatollah, the all star lineup of producers does more than put a solid effort forth. Instead they simply put out some of their best work seen in recent memory. "Nowhere to Hide At" features underground hero Copywrite once again in a position he is accustomed to, tearing up mics. His verse easily overshadows Mr. Eon, however both accompany each other perfectly over the blazin Reef produced track. Production wise, the track features a good combination of modernized beat making while staying true to the underground sound. Quite possibly Reef's finest work (rivaling Nickel Nine); "Nowhere To Hide At" shows why he is one of the industries brightest up and coming producers.
However, not to be outdone is everybody's favorite emcee/producer on the mic, J-Zone. One of the few times J-Zone actually lends his production out of his immediate family, "Artillery" is a flawless track. Mr. Eon rips the track, while the mesmerizing production takes you in a world of its own. Full of originality and craftsmanship, J-Zone's production is simply a breath of fresh air to hear. "You Don't Wanna Fuck Wit" features an odd threesome of emcees, Mr. Eon, R.A. The Rugged Man & Havoc of Mobb Deep. However, the track flows smoothly like the three have been on the mic together for years; thanks to some great production by Ayatollah, who continues to showcase his trademark of brilliantly used vocal samples.
Overall, "Air Force 1" is a pleasant surprise from the overlooked due. You will be hard pressed to find better production than the one seen on "Air Force 1". Never missing a step, the album is quite an accomplishment for The High & Mighty. Its only downfall comes from a lack of consistent lyricism. While nothing groundbreaking, "Air Force 1" is definitely going to be one of the finest underground albums of the year, and wets your mouth for more material of this quality from the group in the future. It seems with every release The High & Mighty continue to improve in every aspect, and "Air Force 1" is proof that the future is looking bright for The High & Mighty.