The Mighty Underdogs is a Bay Area supergroup that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. Featuring Quannum Projects vets Gift of Gab from Blackalicious and Lateef the Truthspeaker of Latyrx plus producer Headnodic of Crown City Rockers, the crew simply tries too hard to sound playful on its debut full-length.
Take "Ill Vacation," featuring Lyrics Born. Over island-style brass and a relaxed bassline, Gift of Gab tells a series of jokes with no punchlines. He raps about meeting an army like Private Ryan's on a "private island," expresses fears he'll be sacrificed to a "giant lion," and discovers escape routes that lead to "shiny diamonds." The song isn't nearly as whimsical as it sets out to be, dealing instead in tired fantasy clichés. The guys are also practically screaming, "Have fun, goddamnit!" on tracks like "Laughing at You," which features lame slams ("You're in your own world/And no one else feels you/Your breath smells like shit/Your feet reek of mildew") over a laughing hyena sample.
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The album's best moments are the tense, spaghetti-Western–flavored "Gun Fight"—easily the CD's highlight—and the by turns jaunty and frantic "Escape." Elsewhere, however, The Mighty Underdogs fail at their attempts to be clever or funny.