Dead Prez RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta

Dead Prez RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta
Having been held up in limbo for a considerable time Dead Prez’s sophomore effort (not counting recent mix-tape releases) finds the group having refined their sound. While RBG doesn’t have the raw energy presented on Let’s Get Free, RBG is sonically a more cohesive record than their debut. However, the overall Dead Prez formula hasn’t changed much. M-1 and stic.man still revel in hijacking regional derivations of hip-hop such as bass and bounce music and replacing the usual hedonistic sentiments with their uncompromising political agenda. "Hell Yeah” is a good example of this, finding the duo resorting to shock value measures in response to their low economic status while the oft-sampled "Planet Rock” drum pattern that has underpinned countless innocuous Miami bass records patters in the background. While the duo often walk the thin line between mere fantasy and reality rather unevenly, "W-4” chronicles the low-income vicious circle with damning precision and "Radio Freq” is a humorous rousing cry against mainstream hip-hop and mind control in general showing how they have improved their narrative skills and their effectiveness when channelling their class and race critiques to everyday life experiences.

I thought you were dropped from the label at one point? M1: We were happy to be released because it gave us legally more political freedom to do whatever we wanted to do and then went on to put out the Get Free or Die Trying mix-tape and then from there you know I think they saw what we were doing on the streets and really it was academic. It wasn’t personal, it was business. So yeah Sony or whoever, they all the same. It’s not like I hate Sony, I hate all these motherfuckers. Sony came at us with that paper and we’re pimping the system.

Are you still involved with activist movements in Brooklyn? Realistically my day is filled with doing things like this. I don’t spend most of my time involved in community self-defence. I am involved because I do live in the community and I am subjected to it and I probably will never not be until we get free. Even though we do rap in a different city every two days, I still gotta deal with it because my homeboys did get attacked by the police and next thing you know we’re going to court. I’m always active, I think the way we put it out may be different than it’s normally been put out, but we’re still building the same movement.

Are you referring to the court case where members of your crew were arrested during a photo shoot in New York? We still going to court, it was a whole lot of police. The block was filled with police — it was 15 or so, maybe more. The pictures don’t do it justice. We’re just trying to make this life work, we’re living in oppression all over the hood, it’s not just Dead Prez. But we’re going to fight back and hopefully we can be the voice of the people who want to fight back. (Columbia)