I remember those old "Are You Bourgie?" posters making the rounds at college campuses back in the Eighties (one criteria: "Do you have curls inside of curls inside of naps?"). "Bourgie," which was shorthand for bourgeois -- referring to those who straddle the top end of the blue-collar social scale and the lower end of E. Franklin Frazier's proper Negro caste -- was used as a low-level dis back then. Now, after listening to King Britt's Adventures in Lo-Fi, I'm not so sure. If OutKast is hip-hop's P-Funk, the Neptunes its Quincy Jones, and Ja Rule its Freddie Jackson, then Britt is Dexter Wansel, crafting jazzy, mind-teasing (if not expanding) productions for the progeny of the Reagan era's Champale-drinking set.
Which, again, isn't a bad thing. Britt knows his strong point -- bobbing beats laced with swirling keyboards and various head-candy textures -- and who to call in to rip the tracks. The tugging Mosez Gunn vehicle "About Face" and Dice Raw's "Rise and Vibe" represent on the head-nodding end of Britt's style. Rich Medina (who waxes like Gil Scott-Heron on "Planetary Analysis" and three other cuts), Bahamadia ("Transcend"), and French-language verbalists Miss Saigon and Lady Alma ("Che Sera Sera" and "Love's Time," respectively) tip the scales toward Britt's languid soul-fusion heart.
Adventures in Lo-Fi has clearly defined limits in terms of approach and timbre. It's not going to send folks back to the lab, which makes it no better or worse than most stuff out there. Activator anyone?
Check out this week's featured ad for Entertainment