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Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury

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Album Review

The Disposable Heroes tackled every last big issue possible with one of 1992's most underrated efforts. Dr Dre and G-funk became all the rage by the end of the year and beyond, but for those looking for at least a little more from hip-hop than that soon-to-be-clichéd style, Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury did the business. The group's origins in the Beatnigs aren't hidden at all — besides a stunning, menacing revision of that band's "Television, the Drug of the Nation," the Heroes' first single, the combination of Bomb Squad and industrial music approaches is apparent throughout. Consolidated's Mark Pistel co-produced the album while Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers helped mix it with the band, creating a stew of deep beats and bass and a constantly busy sonic collage that hits as hard as could be wanted, but not without weirdly tender moments as well. On its own it would be a more than attractive effort, but it's Michael Franti's compelling, rich voice and his chosen subject matter that really make the band something special. Nothing is left unexamined, an analysis of the American community as a whole that embraces questions of African-American identity and commitment ("Famous and Dandy (Like Amos 'n' Andy)") to overall economic and political insanity ("The Winter of the Long Hot Summer," a gripping, quietly threatening flow of a track). There's even a great jazz/funk number, "Music and Politics," with nothing but a guitar and Franti's fine singing voice, ruminating on emotional expression in music and elsewhere with wit and sly anger. Top it off with a brilliant reworking of the Dead Kennedys' anthem "California Uber Alles," lyrics targeting the then-governor of the state, Pete Wilson, and his questionable stances, and revolutions in thought and attitude rarely sounded so good.

Customer Reviews

A lyrical juggernaut

This album should be issued along with textbooks in today's schools. Satanic Reverses is a stunning track that is as relevant today as when it was first composed. Language of Violence is a track that will wake the dead hearts and minds of the populace at large and scare some empathy into them. Brutal and beautiful are the words to describe this album. Get the sense that I recommend it? I certainly do.

Still the greatest

Michael Franti continues to rock the nation from his powerful words and tone to his straight-up attitude, Franti is the Man, Myth, Legend himself.

simply genius, a must for anyone that cares about the lyrical content of their extraordinary music

ok, stop it now. forget about spearhead. this is michael franti in the embryonic stage of spearhead. but don't let that fool you, because he is at the top of his game for this album. lyrically, enough has been said. whatever your views, and at times this album may test them, he is articulate, beautiful, thought-provoking, accusatory, self deprecating, insightful, honest, etc. etc. about a time in america that was for lack of a better term, "interesting." think bill hicks meets henry rollins meets ice cube meets chuck d. meets jello biafra.... musically, this album is deeeeeep. lights out, loud, and sit back and go on a journey. for those that can't enjoy the musical progressions of 'famous' to 'winter' to 'water', you just don't appreciate music. you must have a good system to hear this at it fullest, mind you. on a technical note, on 'music and politics,' it is charlie hunter with his 8 string bass/guitar, not just a guitar. yes, one genius man playing both parts to a lyrically genius song. i have been listening to this album since it came out, and 'music and politics' was a qualification song for the girls we knew. if you could not get it, no matter how hot you are, please get out of the car. yes, we all knew we were music snobs. Get the album, it is a must have. if you do not get it, well, that is your problem....


Formed: 1990 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s

An outgrowth, both musically and ideologically, of the San Francisco-based avant-garde industrial jazz collective the Beatnigs, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy formed in 1990. Comprised of former Beatnigs Michael Franti and Rono Tse, the duo quickly established themselves among rap's foremost proponents of multiculturalism and liberalism; pointedly attacking hip-hop tenets like homophobia, misogyny, and racism, Franti's narratives addressed issues ranging from "Television: The Drug of the Nation"...
Full Bio
Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
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