Rebellious, controversial, and confrontational are just a few words used to describe Hip-Hop political activists Dead Prez.
Over their careers, they’ve managed to keep their heads above water in an industry over-bloated with material nonsense, by staying true to themselves and their beliefs.
After five-year hiatus from the spotlight (from a mainstream standpoint), the two revolutionary MC’s stic.man and M-1 return to the frontlines to once again put their ideals back on the grand stage with Pulse Of The People.
Assisted by DJ Green Lantern, (who produced the majority of the project) Dead Prez continue their resistance against the oppressors with the help of artists like Styles P, Bun B, Avery Storm, and the father of Hip-Hop Political Activism himself; Chuck D.
Filled with content pertaining to billion dollar companies getting bailed out while average Americans continue to struggle, government repression, institutional racism, capitalism, and the prison system; Dead Prez manages to feed those willing to listen food for thought without leaving a nasty after taste in their mouths.
Starting off with the in-your-face ‘Runnin’ Wild,’ Dead Prez utilize the loud horns and drum roll loop to describe the plight of young African-American males growing up in single-parent homes.
From there, Bun B shares his opinion on ‘Don’t Hate My Grind.’ Over the organ-driven track, Dead Prez remain on the subjects at hand:
“On my side of town, this ain’t new, this is life/you ain’t lived it/then you have no idea what it’s like/to go to bed, with excruciating pain in ya abdomen/so hungry you can’t sleep, you just lay awake imagining/tired of watchin’ all these companies get bailed out/and the only thing poor people get is another jailhouse/that’s why ain’t nothin’ patriotic in me/for they system, my heart is empty.”
‘Gangsta, Gangster’ is anchored by a voice sample of Reggae star Movado repeating the word(s), and one of the most recognized gangsters in Hip-Hop, Styles P. Using the slow drawn-out production, they discuss how the gangsters were the slain political leaders, and not the ones who constantly do damage to their communities.
One of the strongest records on the project comes in on ‘Afrika Hot!’ Containing a guitar riff sample reminiscent the Greek song, ‘Misirlou’ (used in the opening credits of Pulp Fiction), Dead Prez retrace their African heritage:
“I don’t represent the red, white, and blue/I’ll cut the head of the devil, and I’ll throw it at you/Uhuru is my world view/army G to the grave/even though Obama the president, we still enslaved/I didn’t have to be born or be raised on no continent/I know where I’m from/it’s engraved in my consciousness/had to open my mind to see that historians lied to me/I don’t know what my tribe was, they stole my culture/but I know I’m still standin’ on ancestor’s shoulders.”
Dead Prez do veer off from homegrown and international issues to give the album a little more balance with offerings like ‘Summer Time’ and their ode to a “ride or die chick” in ‘My Dirty Valentine.’ The radical duo keep the pulse alive with other solid contributions like ‘$timulus Plan,’ ‘NYPD,’ and ‘Refuse To Lose’ (feat. Chuck D and Avery Storm).
Music has always been the best tool to spread positive messages, even though some of those messages might get misconstrued through the media.
But upon listening to Pulse Of The People, make no mistake; these words are incapable of being twisted into something that they’re not—and even those who walk around with deaf ears, (figuratively speaking) will probably find their eardrums vibrating to the teachings of Dead Prez.
The revolution may not be televised, but from a musical standpoint, Dead Prez makes sure that their voices are amongst the most powerful weapons available in the on-going struggle…