Infesticons Gun Hill Road

There's a war going on inside Mike Ladd's head. For this conceptual project, which drops soon after his second solo LP Welcome To The Afterfuture, the maverick MC/poet/teacher has created the opposing factions of the Infesticons and the Majesticons. In short the Majesticons prefer style over substance and the Infesticons are more concerned with the development of progressive ideas. Hence on this hip-hop battlefield, a figure like Poof Na Na (a thinly-veiled reference to Puff Daddy) is clearly a Majesticon according to Ladd logic. El-P of Company Flow, Saul Williams and Priest and Beans of Anti-Pop Consortium are among Ladd's Infesticon recruits declaring war on "jiggification." Abrasive lo-fi beats and a restless experimental urge underscore Ladd and friends' various modes of attack, which range from blunt outbursts to sly humour. "Shampoo Theme" is indicative of the latter, a hilarious ditty delivered in a Mase-like nasal tone drawing on nonsensical phrases strung together for the sake of rhyming, while BMS's rugged philosophies are charmingly offset by the operatic strains of vocalist Dana on "Cave Theme." Of course, the Majesticons never stood a chance; Ladd's ambitious project is instead meant to challenge and start a few skirmishes in your head. (Ninja Tune)