The Majesticons

Beauty Party

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There's a party going on during Beauty Party, Mike Ladd's second full-length in a trilogy (begun as the Infesticons and projected to be completed as the Trusticons), and it's a record as smooth and self-satisfied as the Infesticons' Gun Hill Road was abstract and gritty. Ladd hasn't sold out though, he's merely assumed the guise of the Majesticons, a hip-hop crew more obsessed with money than music, defeated by the Infesticons at the end of Gun Hill Road but making their comeback here. This "ultimate post-jiggy experience" is The Empire Strikes Back of underground rap, and Ladd pulls no punches in making a slick record that apes commercial rap ("Piranha Party," "Game Party") at its most asinine. Boasting a host of fictitious rappers like Ivy League, Disasterous, and Cheeta Chinchilla (all played by Ladd associates), the Majesticons strut their way through a hilariously lame Pet Shop Boys ripoff on "Brains Party" ("I've got the brains, you've got the looks/Let's make lots of money!"), go all No Limit on "Platinum Blaque Party" ("I've got so much assets to access, words cannot describe my success"), and touch on rolling G-funk for "Majestwest Party." Fortunately, as with the best Parliament records, the eternal struggle of funky vs. unfunky doesn't get in the way of some excellent music, like the swinging digital club tune "Prom Night Party" or the downtempo R&B "Luv Thief Party." In the end though, Ladd's too good at producing a realistic commercial rap record; Beauty Party falls prey to the same faults, and the occasionally bland material never rises above its satirical value.

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