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Record Review 

Just as big pimpin' shenanigans pose a serious threat to the longevity of hip-hop, artists like former Anti-Pop Consortium cohort Beans, and Majesticons' mastermind Mike Ladd work diligently to preserve its future. Their respective debuts, Beans' Tomorrow Right Now and the Majesticons' Beauty Party point out the dangers of excess after success.

On Gun Hill Road, Ladd's first installment of a three-part epic battle, a race of just and ghetto fabulous beings called the Infesticons smashed the evil and materialistic Majesticons. Beauty Party is the second installment, in which the Majesticons find sweet revenge. Ladd's conceptual elements hide beneath a lattice of party anthems and angular beats. By way of shout-outs to Alan Greenspan in "Intro Party," and hijacking the Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities" in the P. Diddy-esque "Brains Party," the Majesticons' truly menacing nature becomes clear. Beauty Party is the sound of victory, an over-the-top look inside the mind of an evil empire that exploits every cliche in the book.

Beans adopts a more straightforward approach. The primitive production qualities of "Hot Venom" and "Phreek the Beet" share the simplicity of '80s hip-hop acts like the Sugar Hill Gang or Grand Master Flash. "Booga Sugar" warns of the dangers of excess and acting without regard for your actions, bringing a layer of consciousness to the mix.

Both artists utilize entirely different methods to reach similar ends: The future of hip-hop hangs in the balance, self-control is the key to its preservation.


Beans and the Majesticons play The Apache Cafe Fri., May 23.

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