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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disposable.....nah.....more like indespensible, 6 July 2008
This review is from: Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury (Re-Issue) (Audio CD)
I wouldn't class myself as a massively perspicacious commentator on the rap & hip hop genre -indeed I haven't bought a rap album for some considerable time . But there was a time when rap was the most politically charged musical genus on the planet with artists like Public Enemy , NWA, Ice T etc regularly releasing albums that spoke with righteous indignation and furious anger about the social background they came from. Even recently bands on the Def-Jux label have done the same. But there is one album that , for me is head and shoulders above anything else when it comes to addressing the socio-political politics of the time .That album is Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury.
Released in 1992 , the band had been together for two years before they released their debut , clearly taking time to get the sound - a turbid melange of perambulating beats, frisky rhythmic divergences ,and playful samples just right. This is all impressive enough but what really elevates the band are both the vocals and more especially the lyrics by main man Michael Franti. The album is superbly produced by the band along with Consolidated ,s Mark Pistel while Meat Beat Manifesto ,s Jack Dangers assisted with the mixing.
Covering hotbed topics such as racial equality , homophobia , US foreign policy , immigration ,political subservience, hypocrisy (of course) and most infamously the way television is used as a tool to subsume the masses and the way the media is guilty of subreption . Though the lyrics radiate with palpable anger they are not without humour: "Apartheid is a new headache remedy" he spits on "Television , Drug Of The Nation".
Neither is the album a relentless volley of beats and in your face lyrical fury. "Music And Politics" is centred around slivery guitar chords and Franti sings ,even slipping into a bluesy croon. The splendid cover of the Dead Kennedy's "California Uber Alles" has updated lyrics about then Governor Pete Wilson .
Along with Consolidated,s "Play More Music " Blade's "The Lion Goes from Strength to Strength " and Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" this is my favourite rap album .Rap as it should be- intelligent , passionate , articulate , informed and so angry it singes your nostril hairs.
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Location: halifax, west yorks

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,598