The hip hop underground goes uptown
The intense materialism of much recent hip hop and R&B is tough to satirise, not least because arch-perpetrators like Jay-Z are so knowing and funny themselves. Respect, then, to Bronx seditionary and Majesticons creator Mike Ladd (and friends like EI-P and Cannibal Ox), whose ongoing parody program succeeds through imagination and an affection for the music, if not the morals. In his elaborate fiction, the Majesticons are a bunch of ghetto fabulous robots opposed to rootsy freedom fighters The infesticons. Beauty Party is a concept album, but it’s an entertaining one. And critically, one with tunes so strong?from Timbalandish exotica to buffed nu-soul?they could pass muster in the most discriminating circles.