Infesticons

Gun Hill Road

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The cream of the underground hip-hop crop -- a gaggle of lost gangstas and a Beastie Boy collaborator -- comprise the wild and should-be-wonderful mob collectively know as the Infesticons, spearheaded by the inimitable Mike Ladd. It should be wonderful but it isn't: Gun Hill Road suffers mightily from blurred vision, splintered beats, tuneless loops, too much noise, and a low rap standard. The sound is pure N.Y.C. underground and stellar moments abound, but the overall impact is scattershot. A stunning wealth and breadth of talent, anti-playa attitude, and derangement are on display here, but the feeling is showy and spotty. Highlights have to be Saul Williams' reassuringly nutcase "Monkey Theme," Rob Smith's waveless proto-rap "Chase Theme," and Dana & Majesticon 69's transsexual/freak/funk show "Shampoo Theme." There are some reverential moments to funkadelia and many of Smith and Majesticon's movements are often sheer labyrinths of voicescapes in the most ambitious of the rap traditions.

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