Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Afrika Bambaataa and Family

  • Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere) [Tommy Boy, 1986] B
  • The Light [Capitol, 1988] B

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere) [Tommy Boy, 1986]
Selected producers cut Bam's electro leanings with the prescribed heavy guitars, and musically this tops the UTFO albums, say. But neither leader nor followers give up the rhythms or reasons of a ranking MC, and I'm grieved to report that only "Kick Out the Jams" overcomes the formlessness of personality his detractors have always charged him with--it's got Bill Laswell all over it. B

The Light [Capitol, 1988]
No kind of sellout, not even a mishmash, just a great DJ trying to reproduce the anything-funky ambience of his parties, go go to reggae to disco to rap. Unfortunately, the ability to hear still ain't the ability to create. On the John Robie-coproduced disco side, "Reckless" (UB40 with dance hook) and "Something He Can Feel" (Nona Hendryx and Boy George back from limbo together for the first time) are pretty great; so's "World Racial War" (Professor Griff please copy) on the Bill Laswell-coproduced funk side. None of them saves the party from approaching mishmash. B