Mindbender Beautiful Mutant

Although long rumoured to be Mindbender’s attempt to conform to the norm, Beautiful Mutant plays like an extension of Fantasyland Before Time, with "Eternal Peace of Mind” likely the only commercially viable track. The rest of Beautiful Mutant is composed of (mostly) Vangel and Dorc’s abrasive beats and Mindbender’s lyrically-charged thought bombs that average in the five-minute range. Combined, this double-CD clocks in at just over 85 minutes; personally, I would have cut "Love in the Air” and the instrumental "Bicyclette” — not because they’re bad, but for the sake of brevity, cutting it down to one CD, and because they’re the least engaging of the 20 tracks. Standouts? In addition to "Eternal Peace of Mind,” there’s the hectic "Weapon X,” which re-imagines Mindbender as a hip-hop Wolverine, "Born to Rock the Mic,” which highlights those special moments in the evolution of Addi to Mindbender, and the self-explanatory "Birth of a Bad Habit.” Plus, the "Beautiful Mutant” posse cut brings together an unusual collection of T.O. rappers: Eternia, 4th Pyramid, Ill Seer, Chuggo, Vangel, Fritz the Cat and More or Les. Beautiful Mutant is mandatory listening for fans of Def Jux and forward-thinking hip hop. Now when’s the SBU reunion? (Future Echo)