By the early 2000's, the Living Legends were the archetypical indie hip-hop band. They were highly revered in the backpackers international underground, where they fully deserved their name. In the Wu-Tang Clan way, this collective was made of various subgroups and solo artists, and people from countries as far as Japan and the Netherlands were affiliated to them. Thanks to such a network, their aura was global; and they reached a high standing without any help from major labels.
Justify the Mean$, is not only a record from Luckiyam. It also belongs to the man to be called Gandalf, when talking about the beatmaking side of his artistry. In addition to rapping on it, Eligh, indeed, produced the integrality of the album, and this contribution was decisive. It transfigured the ingenuous but rather expected raps of Luckyiam. It saved his commonplace themes, by offering something more than the usual repetitive loops. Actually, rarely have Eligh's typical beats - a mix of cool jazz and synthetic sounds - fit so well with the lyrics of one of his companions.
With hindsight, we know now that there was one single criterion, to assess the quality of a Living Legends record: the level of involvement of Eligh. The Californian collective's best albums, indeed, were those where he took the most active part. It was true for his solo albums, as well as Luckyiam.PSC's great Justify the Mean$ (2002). And it was true, also, for the first and last album ever released by the 3 Melancholy Gypsys, one of the two funding trios of the Legends.
Though all Living Legends records have not always been flawless, the solo career of Eligh was, for a long time, nothing less than exemplary. Starting in the second half of the 1990's with good albums like As They Pass and Gas Dream, it reached its apex in the 2000's with some gems, first Poltergeist, and then the much original Enigma. After this peak, however, the rapper and beatmaker didn't provide anything substantial for us to enjoy. The reason, as we would learn in 2010 with the Grey Crow album, was due to a serious drug addiction.
In 2003, Eligh Nachowitz was not a newcomer. Any fan willing to explore deeper than hip-hop's most obvious faces already knew his remarkable As They Pass (1996) and Gas Dreams (1999) albums. This time, however, the rapper was ready to reach the upper level. Thanks to his group's – the Living Legends – growing reputation; thanks, also, to Poltergeist, a consistent, haunted, and poetic record, stronger than his previous releases.