Majesticons | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Most hip-hop parodies fall flat because the would-be jokers don't seem to understand the culture. Insider Mike Ladd--who's worked with El-P, members of the Anti-Pop Consortium, and other underground notables--doesn't have that problem, and his latest project, the Majesticons, makes some pointed observations about commercial hip-hop's conspicuous consumption. Much of Ladd's new album, Beauty Parlor (Big Dada), sounds an awful lot like N*E*R*D, the band project of reigning bling-bling knob twirlers the Neptunes, and his lyrics describe a mythical world where the jiggified Majesticons are battling with the keepin'-it-real Infesticons, though it's hardly necessary to follow the convoluted story line to get what he's putting down. His jokes can occasionally be over-the-top--he gives shout-outs to Alan Greenspan and Malcolm Forbes on "Intro Party (Intro)." But more often he unpacks hip-hop mythology with perceptive lines like "Pain is beauty / Beauty's pain / Ain't nothing wrong with being vain / As long as I look good" (from "Parlor Party") and "Never been in the pen / But I've been close to it / Write my niggas every week to get new material / To spit up on these beats / Their stories, my glory" (from the faux-gangsta anthem "Majestwest Party"). Ladd performs with three MCs (Creature, Omega, and Sun) and one DJ. Former Anti-Pop Consortium member Beans opens. Tuesday, May 20, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace; 773-478-4408.

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