Out There

Confrontation Camp
Objects in the Mirror Are Closer than They Appear
(Artemis Records)

No wonder Chuck D's all about free music, testifying before Congress about the evils of the RIAA and the benefits of Napster. Sooner or later, the only way Chuck's gonna get his message to the masses is by giving his shit away gratis, and even then, it's still no bargain. Maybe there's a short lifespan in hip-hop after all, an expiration date that sets in after your own revolution's passed you by; the warrior becomes a corpse pretty damned fast these days, and woe to the soldier who keeps fighting with a bayonet sticking out of his lifeless chest. It's nice to see Chuck on Capitol Hill -- it's like Schoolhouse Rap: "I'm just a pill / Yes, I'm only a pill..." -- shouting to old white men who think they still make eight-tracks. But he's spent so much time speechifying and proselytizing to hearing aids, he seems to have forgotten that you have to back up your words and actions with product people actually need.Confrontation Camp -- more or less a rap-metal band fronted by Mistachuck himself, Professor Griff, Kyle Jason, and turntablist DJ Lord -- sounds like something you sold back to the used-CD store in 1986. Back in the day, they called this mishmash of piss-poorly produced metal, art-rock, tepid R&B, and rap "the worst record Living Colour ever made," until they changed it to "the worst record Ice-T ever made" when Body Count proved to be aptly named. The influence has become the influenced, so much so that the first paragraph of Confrontation Camp's online bio references Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and DMX as acts that laid the "groundwork." There was once a time when Chuck might have insisted they dug the grave, but put nothing past the man who thought teaming up with Anthrax was a good idea a decade ago.

But what can you expect from a record on which Professor Griff gets top billing? Hip-hop's Don Rickles, forgotten but never forgiven, makes Flavor Flav sound like Rakim; his is a voice best heard when turned to "mute." And Chuck sounds bored at best, perhaps because he's regurgitating familiar platitudes and attitudes to the converts who long ago lost interest: Kids shouldn't kill kids over $200 basketball shoes, O.J.'s innocent, Rodney King got fucked, record companies suck, the fans are getting screwed, there are too many brothers in the joint...and on and on, until the whole disc feels like a retread of ancient speeches delivered before the revolution was televised and anchored by Dr. Dre and Ed Lover. By the time Chuck gets around to lambasting radio for ignoring him ("Fuck the radio stations / 'Cause they ain't playin' shit"), you start to think radio got the right idea. Quick -- call the Bomb Squad, because somebody needs to be demolished.

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