Dead Prez Let’s Get Free

It’s been over a decade since hip-hop music, led by the legendary Public Enemy, openly espoused revolutionary politics and stressed the importance of black culture. As the music’s commercial viability has grown, overtly political content has inversely decreased to barely register. This is probably why Dead Prez’s Let’s Get Free is such a stark debut. Describing their stance as “Camouflage fatigues and daishikis/Somewhere in between NWA and PE,” on opening salvo “Africa,” Dead Prez MCs M-1 and Sticman uncompromisingly give voice to conspiracy theories and resistance to oppression, themes most MCs wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. They draw thought-provoking parallels between incarceration and public surveillance on “Enemy Lines” and “Police State,” attack organised education, “They Schools,” and storm Capitol Hill, “Assassination.” M-1 and Sticman also take time out to give out health advice, “Be Healthy,” and deliver an Orwellian narrative, “Animal In Man.” While nothing here musically matches the incendiary subversion of the brilliant “Hip Hop” single, Let’s Get Free is a powerful lyrical manifesto that also highlights hip-hop’s own apolitical state. (Epic)