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175 Progress Drive

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Album Review

Regardless of your opinion on the guilt or innocence of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal in the murders of which he was convicted, this intriguing spoken word collection will prove an eye-opening listen. With songs, poems, and speeches that address everything from Abu-Jamal's quest for justice to the way today's urban music glorifies materialism, it's a bit of a heady listen, and while spoken word can be something of an acquired taste, tracks like "A Rap Thing" offer up intelligent, thought-provoking concepts every hip-hop fan should hear. Everyone from Rubin Hurricane Carter (who was falsely accused of murder and served more than a decade on death row) to Assata Shakur (Tupac's mother) drops by to lend their support, as do rappers like Chuck D, Pharoahe Monch, and dead prez, whose "Mumia 911" is a fiery diatribe against the U.S. government for Abu-Jamal's status as a "political prisoner." It may not change your mind, but 175 Progress Drive will almost certainly serve to open it.

175 Progress Drive, Mumia Abu-Jamal
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