Dead Prez

From Academic Kids

Dead Prez is the pair of largely-underground alternative rappers, Sticman and M-1. They have become known largely for their hard-hitting style and politically-aware lyrics, focusing on racism, critical pedagogy, and activism against governmental hypocrisy, and corporate control over the media: especially hip-hop record labels.

Their debut album was Let's Get Free (2000, see 2000 in music), which had a minor popular music hit with the song "Hip Hop" the year before. The album was critically well-received, and included intense political diatribes featuring prominent black revolutionary Omali Yeshitela, as well as "Animal in Man," a retelling of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Some argue that Let's Get Free is one of the most influential albums in rap. In 2001 they collaborated with The Coup, another politically active hip-hop outfit, to release Get Up. In 2002, Dead Prez released the independent mix tape Turn Off The Radio volume 1, followed by the release of Get Free Or Die Tryin mixtape volume 2 in 2003. In 2004, Columbia Records finally released Revolutionary But Gangsta.

To get a sample the unique Dead Prez rap style, take the song "Know Your Enemy" from Turn Off The Radio:

[Sticman]
they hit the world trade, the pentagon, and almost got the white house
now everybody walkin round patriotic
how we gon' fight to keep freedom when we ain't got it?
you wanna stop terrorists?
start with the u.s. imperialists? 
ain't no track record like america's, see
bin laden was trained by the c.i.a 
but I guess if you a terrorist for the u.s
then it's okay

Some of Dead Prez's fan base have accused them of giving up on their revolutionary aspects in exchange for their 'Gangsta' side, after Revolutionary But Gangsta was released.

The Swahili word for freedom, UHURU, is often prominently mentioned in Dead Prez lyrics. The members of Dead Prez are members of Yeshitela's International Democratic People's Uhuru Movement.

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