EWA100 - #93. High & Mighty - B-Boy Document '99

93. The High & Mighty feat. Mos Def & Mad Skillz - B-Boy Document '99 (Rawkus. 1999. From the LP Home Field Advantage)

(Also appeared on Soundbombing II. I'm guessing that came out earlier.)

Raven Mack: I used to buy everything Rawkus I could get, and this was no exception. This single also has two notable things making it relevant to me... It's one of the few songs on this list featuring a white rapper (Mr. Eon), and it's the only song on here featuring a dude from Richmond (Mad Skillz). At this point, Mos Def's standard reworking of old school themes had not yet become played out, and this was a feel good shit-talking song. I think with the fake gangsta posturing that became so popular (which is now tweaked into fake cocaine-selling posturing) that the backlash was pseudo-intellectual clever rap on the indie side of things, that the old-fashioned, shit-talking, feel-good jam sort of got lost. Just use crazy and ridiculous metaphors to show explain how fuckin' kick ass you are on a mic, and have a solid beat behind it, and throw in some bonafide DJ's cuts (with like maybe actual vinyl and not some dude just playing little snippets off his ipod onstage), and that's the definition of a jam.
Mos Def has become such a Disney-crowd-friendly character actor to me that I forget he was an MC that I loved at one point. I should stop being such a judgemental dick all the time. But if I did that, I couldn't have Expert Whiteboy Analysis going on inside my mind. Self-importance is the first tenet of the Expert Whiteboy.
Also, Madd Skillz makes me laugh. He's the only semi-famous Richmond rapper and he's made a "career" of three things - #1: being friends with Timbaland, #2: dissing more famous rappers, #3: claiming he's ghostwritten all these songs. The friends thing is fine, I can dig positioning yourself for success, as I'd do the same shit in his position. The dissing more famous rappers thing gets tired because I doubt most of these guys even give a fuck Madd Skillz disses them. Wu played in Richmond one time years ago and Method Man came out and took the mic from Skillz, and he had a line in some song because of this saying something like "if you're John Blaze then I must be James Flame," and I don't think Method Man ever even gave a fuck. And the ghostwriting thing? There aren't enough platinum hits on a thousand earths for all these semi-obscure rappers who claim they've written all these well-known hits to have written all these well-known hits. But there's no way to prove otherwise, so motherfuckers claim that they've written everything ever. Stupid rappers.

Mike Dikk: 1999 was the year I gave up on Hip-Hop, so I didn’t hear this when it came out. I don’t really have any attachment to the song and what it represents. It’s the type of song that would not fly well at all in this day and age, but it actually got somewhat popular because 1999 was such a bad year and people were really fed the fuck up with the stuff that was going on in mainstream rap, so all this Rawkus shit got over big in this time frame. Now, people are once again compliant to whatever dumbshit song is released about paint on cars or T-shirts or some new Pee Wee Herman type dance. I can’t dis the songs about dances, because there was one of those on every single record in the 80’s, but most of them didn’t become videos or cell phone ringtones.
I’m not even sure if most people know who High & Mighty is anymore. They’ve been kind of phased out by more exciting "underground" rap artists. Skillz still does those annoying year end songs, and Mos Def is... Mos Def. I’ve read some recent internet propaganda that the reason he might be so sucky at making music these days is because he’s unhappy with his record contract and he’s just mailing it in until he gets released. I’m not so sure if that’s true, but I do know that I liked his character in The Italian Job more than I liked his last few records.

Download - High & Mighty - B-Boy Document '99

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