Dead Prez

RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta (Sony/Columbia)

Cops and white men beware: Dead Prez has secured another record deal and is ready to unleash its onslaught once again. Four years ago, the act's debut, Let's Get Free, criticized the government, the school system, the police force and other artists for using music to talk about nonsense. MCs M-1 and Stic are still speaking on the same topics, but this time with much more aggression. On "I Have a Dream Too," they fantasize about taking revenge on cops who murder innocent people of color. The first single, "Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)," urges the listener to take advantage of the loopholes that result in credit-card scams, fake IDs, scamming the WIC office and robbing the register while at work. The remix finds Jay-Z getting at the system, too. "W4" speaks to the current hardships of employment in the U.S. and compares the work environment to slavery.

Although the album focuses mainly on The Man, the group also exhorts its own. "Walk Like a Warrior," featuring Krayzie Bone, encourages people to get involved in a movement or organization that fights oppression; "F-d Up" deals with alcoholism in the community; and "Radio Freq" takes the radio industry to task for its imbalance and promotion of stereotypical images, along with the artists who perpetuate them. M-1 and Stic may not be as articulate as Talib Kweli, Chuck D or even KRS-One, but their philosophies and beliefs are genuine -- a rarity in hip-hop nowadays. Let the revolution begin!

 
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