Mike Ladd Negrophilia

[Thirsty Ear; 2005]

Styles: somewhere between electronic hip-hop and free jazz
Others: EL-P & Blue Series Continuum, Boom Bip & Dose One, Buck 65

Mike Ladd is someone you should know of but probably don't. Regardless, this elusive poet-producer has close ties with the likes of Carl Hancock Rux, EL-P, Juice Aleem, and Saul Williams with good cause. Much like Richard Linklater's pattern of films rotating through somewhat mainstream (School Of Rock) to the ultimate of indie (Waking Life), Ladd has released several varied albums under his own name along side a major Big Dada released project. The Infesticons/Majesticons trilogy he spearheaded, which will see its conclusion in early 2005, not only helped spread his name, but also helped teach him respect for pop song structure and the skill to see it through, as well as renewing his lust for complete creative freedom.

For Negrophilia, which literally means a love of negroes, Ladd has hooked up with In What Language collaborator Vijay Iyer and well-known drummer Guillermo Brown for a complete blur of any pop sensibilities they may have had. Coming down at a turning point in hip-hop history, Ladd is doing for his preferred genre what Miles Davis did for jazz in the late '60s with his fusion movement. Here, Ladd's vision fuses free jazz sessions, hip-hop pacing, electronics both atmospheric bowel busting, and beat poetry without being pretentious or too inaccessible. This is the shit to make the CBC Radio listener in your family take hip-hop as an art form very seriously, to force those about you who wince at the very utterance of the term with visions of hateful, money grubbing superstars getting jiggy in their minds to allow for a much needed redefinition of terms. In any case, Negrophilia, the post 9-11 opus with apocalyptic overtones, is instantly enjoyable. So does that make me a Negrophiliapheliac or what?

1. Fieldwork (The Ethnographer's Daughter)
2. The French Dig Latinos Too
3. In Perspective
4. Shake It
5. Worldwide Shrink Wrap (Contact Zones)
6. Back At Ya
7. Appropriated Metro
8. Blond Negress
9. Sam and Milli Dine Out
10. Nancy & Carl Go Christmas Shopping
11. Sleep Patterns Of Black Expatriates circa 1960

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