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The Body-Hat Syndrome

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Album Review

Rebounding, in the charts anyway, from the relative downturn of 1991's Sons of the P LP, Digital Underground continued cultivating its own brand of P-Funk culture on The Body-Hat Syndrome two years later, stuffing what had been the group's first year of silence with a fresh batch of funk-infused rap. Digital Underground's last effort for longtime label Tommy Boy, The Body-Hat Syndrome lacked some of the bright spark and humor that informed the band's first two albums. With the edgy grind of the leading single, "The Return of the Crazy One," and its accompanying X-rated video (reworked for public consumption) boosting the band back into the spotlight, the rest of the album unfurled to less than outstanding crossover commercial acclaim — the album's second single, the slightly melancholy and anti-racism cultural awareness politico "Whassup Wit the Love," barely cracked the R&B Top 100. But that's not to say that this set doesn't represent another brilliant feather in the group's cap — it does. Smooth grooves, understated humor, and gentle remonstrations of peace, love, and manifesto continue to drive the Digital Underground style, here sampled across a chunky 20-track set. "Holly Wanstaho" is a fantastic jazz-tripped reinvention of Parliament's "Holly Wants to Go to California," while the completely original big bass beat "Brand Nu Swetta" is the perfect dance groove. The three-part "Body-Hats" breaks up the action. Two bonus tracks, "The Humpty Dance Awards" and "Wheee!, are included on The Body-Hat Syndrome's CD issue. With a smart balance between old-school, new-school, and their own school sonics, Digital Underground has once again brought funk history to life, passing the torch to the next generation and, above all, having one hell of a good time doing it.


Formed: 1987 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s

While hip-hop was consumed by the hardcore, noisy political rap of Public Enemy and the gangsta rap of N.W.A., Digital Underground sneaked out of Oakland with their bizarre, funky homage to Parliament-Funkadelic. Digital Underground built most of their music from P-Funk samples and developed a similarly weird sense of style and humor, highlighted by Shock-G's outrageous costumes and the whole band's parade of alter egos. Of all these alter egos, Shock-G's Humpty Hump -- a ridiculous comical figure...
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The Body-Hat Syndrome, Digital Underground
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