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Warlocks and Witches,
Microchips and You
Afrika Bambaataa presents
Relegated to getting shout-outs from fellow hiphoppers over the past couple of years, Afrika Bambaataa ends his search for the perfect beat with his first high-profile album since 1988’s The Light. The album’s flow is akin to that of the famous street parties Bambaataa used to spin in the ’70s, with a vast amalgamation of electro-funk, p-funk, JB-funk, hiphop, and go-go providing Warlocks’ seamless groove. As rap’s grandpapa, Bambaataa acts as the guiding force for the record, content to provide the funk and let fellow Universal Zulu Nation rappers solo the mic on several tracks, as X does on the go-go tribute, “D.C. Nation.” But Queen Asia (who sounds like a pissy Pepa) on the would-be-a-huge-hit-except-for-its-title “Throw Ya Fuckin’ Hands Up,” gets off the album’s sassiest lines: “You can’t swing with the Trapper John, M.D. of the mic/If it’s broke I’ll patch it up right.” (In a nod to the era that made him famous, Bambaataa closes the track with a rap in those “wicki-wicki” voices made famous by Newcleus on “Jam on It.”) But it’s Bambaataa alone on the paranoid title track, going off about implanted microchips, asking, “Why is Washington, D.C. designed in the form of a devil’s pentagram?,” and even finding conspiracy in Return of the Jedi’s Yoda. At 22 tracks, Warlocks might seem to overstay its welcome, but that’s only if you’re not in the mood to move. CP