Review: Infesticons - Bedford Park
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4/5From Parisian suburbs, Mike Ladd has recalled the Infesticons from their underground bunker deep in the Bronx to survey the remnants of the war with the Majesticons.
With Bedford Park, the producer, emcee and expat has added the conclusion to the trilogy of albums documenting the strife between two fictitious hip-hop crews in clattering fashion. Though Ladd flirted with the smooth tones and cheap commerciality of mainstream rap during his stint as the Majesticons, the final part sees him back with collaborators (including Saul Williams) helming the hard living, volatile Infesticons who represent the wellbeing of the underground scene.
To look past the conceptual jugglery, Bedford Park is a tough hammering blend of hip-hop, rock and soul, and an easy mix to love. The declaration is brash, with every song title labelled an anthem. Second track 'Gonna Anthem' best encapsulates Bedford Park's tone: the guitars and basslines are heavy and rugged; the raps are rough, confrontational and just bawdy enough without sounding too derogatory. Closer 'Sky's Anthem' leads the album out in a whimper, but since everything preceding it is so gutsy, it doesn't much tarnish the album's lasting effects. That is, an album that could probably unify punks, rappers and rockers in the same club; whose widespread appeal will only be limited by the lack of exposure it'll likely receive.
Using the concept itself is the most apt way of summing up Bedford Park. After a decade since the Infesticons debuted, Ladd returned to Bedford Park and dug through the project's rubble to find the underground troupe, leaving the chase for mainstream success buried. It's not surprising that the Infesticons are the crew that weathered the storm: Ladd is a great talent in underground hip-hop, and realistically, there was only one side he could ever credibly champion.