Madlib – Madlib Medicine Show No. 3 – Beat Konducta in Africa

January 01, 1970

(Madlib Medicine Show/Stones Throw)


Madlib has never been one to shy away
from a challenge. On his previous Beat
voyages, the hip-hop producer has transmogrified soundtrack music,
Indian pop, and Brazilian funk into expansive, immersive, and deeply funky
sound collages. Imagine the output of the Numero Group and Sublime Frequencies
labels churned into beat-heavy butter, and you’d be coming close to nailing the
loose and richly inauthentic vibe Madlib creates on these discs.


With his latest entry into the series,
though, Madlib truly goes for broke, by tackling the sound of an entire continent. Once again, “authenticity” is
not on the menu, as Madlib grabs grooves from all over the place, splicing and
dicing long-lost ‘60s and ‘70s soul and funk tracks from north, south, east,
and west. It’s a weirdly logical recycling: an American producer
recontextualizing the sound made by Africans who were inspired by what
African-Americans were doing. Occasionally, a bit like “Mandingo Swing” pops
up, evoking some sort of exotic sonic version of African “otherness,” but even
then, Madlib riffs on the semantic legerdemain of the track’s title, which is
an explicit reference both to the Abbey Road studio musicians who churned out
faux-African funk in the ‘60s and ‘70s and the infamous Dino De Laurent is


Also satisfying are the hard-hitting
loops of “Obataive” and the slow-burn dizziness of “Jungle Sounds (Part One)”;
however, there are 43 (!) tracks here, and this is a disc best taken in as a
consecutive piece. It won’t give you any more insight into African music, but
it is a rewarding and richly textured reclamation of sounds that have been
plundered all too often.



“The Frontline
(Liberation)”, “African Map Watch” JASON FERGUSON


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