Dead Prez

Media descriptions of Dead Prez concentrate on their black nationalist agitprop, even while there's ample evidence that and M-1 have more generous souls and broader minds. On 2000's Let's Get Free, they championed a vegan diet ("Be Healthy"), lauded the wonders of good conversation ("Mind Sex"), and on "Happiness" reveled in the finer things of life: a beautiful summer day, Guinness Stout in the freezer and a blunt between the fingers. This past November, they released Turn Off the Radio, an amusing little trifle that hijacks mainstream R&B tracks as vehicles for their raps. Thus, Aaliyah's "We Need a Resolution" is transformed into "We Need a Revolution," and Black Rob's P. Diddy-produced club sensation "Whoa!" is rechristened "No Love," giving them a chance to cap on the club scene: "I ain't got no paper to spend/When they hatin' my skin/Barely even letting us in." Easily the most incendiary cut is "Know Your Enemy," which argues, "You want to stop terrorists?/Start with the U.S. imperialists/Bin Laden was trained by the CIA/But I guess if you're a terrorist for the U.S., then it's okay." A new album, Revolutionary Black Gangster (Columbia), is due in May, suggesting Dead Prez won't wait for the revolution to be televised.

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