Dead Prez is a rap/hip hop group, focused on political issues and social change. The term Dead Presidents is most commonly a reference to U.S. currency, but it also represents the socialist/anarchist ideas they're trying to spread. They focus less on Money and Bitches and more on Food, Clothes and Shelter, black pride, school sucking, killing cops... Wait. Well, it's not like the others. Seriously.

The violent lyrics and sex are still there (occasionally, I've actually only heard one song that had to do with sex), but they're justified. The violence comes against oppressors (police brutality) and the sex comes with respect before and after. Songs like Be Healthy and Mind Sex are a bit too corny and/or radical for them to not mean what they're saying. What touched me the most is that they're not speaking solely to African Americans. Many of their messages are about freedom, propaganda, and capitalism.

Dead Prez are two men, M-1 and Sticman, trying to pick up where figures like Malcolm X and Huey P left off. According to MTV (one of the most reliable sources I was able to find on them), M-1 fled to Florida "in the midst of a dangerous drug situation", and met sticman, who lived in Tallahassee. They became activists and traveled the country, eventually deciding they needed to make a living somehow. Music became a means to a few ends, allowing them to make cash, while spreading their message in a much easier (and more catchy) fashion. At least it worked on me.

There are a few things I would complain about, regarding them.

  • At the end of a few songs, there are 30 second rants that range from decent to extremely annoying. (The one at the end of They Schools completely ruins the song for me. "Suck my dick, biooootch!" does not prove your point that you don't need the white man's education. It makes you sound like a damned idiot. I cut off the last minute of my mp3 just so I don't have to hear it.)
  • The easy possibility of reverse racism. I've never been to a concert, and I'd be slightly afraid to go. I'm pretty sure Dead Prez themselves apply their lyrics universally, but I can in no way be positive that their target audience (young, angry, black, people with revolution and killing whitey on their mind) interprets their lyrics universally. However, reverse racism is racism; An intelligent fan will know this intuitively.

    Overall I've found Dead Prez to be not only intelligent and thought-provoking, but very catchy. I find myself humming tunes and echoing lyrics in my head, which is more than I ever expected from them.

    Discography

    ’97 Set Up
    Released: 1997
    Label: Loud

    Let's Get Free
    Released: February 22, 2000
    Label: Relativity

    Hip Hop (single)
    Released: March 2, 2000
    Label: Sony International

    No More Prisons
    Released: July 3, 2001
    Label: Raptivism

    Turn Off The Radio
    Released: November 19, 2002
    Label: Full Clip

    http://www.mtv.com/
    http://www.rollingstone.com/

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