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Iconoclastic, enigmatic and angst-ridden are words used to describe former front man for the punk/thrash metal group Bad Brains, H.R. (Ras Hailu Gabriel Joseph I). A devout Rastafarian, H.R.'s songs, a seamless blend of singing, rap and African chanting, demand social and economic equality and an end to oppression and racism. He got his start with the Washington, D.C.-based Bad Brains, and sang with them through the '80s. H.R. periodically left to pursue his own career, returning only to make a few quick bucks. He infused their music with his own brand of reggae rhythms, which they called "rasta-core," but grew disillusioned because fans were more interested in their hardcore sound than the message of love he was trying to convey. Compared to the rough-edged, riotous energy of the Brains, H.R.'s reggae was mellower as can be heard in his late '80s album Singin' in the Heart (SST) which he recorded in between Bad Brains' I Against I and Quickness. H.R. left the band for good in 1989 and has since worked on developing his solo career. ~ Sandra Brennan