dead prez
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dead prez

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dead prez @ University of Illinois

Blomington, Illinois, USA

Blomington, Illinois, USA

dead prez @ Apacahe Cafe

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Let's Get Free is a statement of sedition wrapped in a synergistic blend of urgent noise, angry rhythm and rhymes that display black skill in the hour of chaos. Instead of inserting the senseless skits that dominate most hip-hop records, Dead Prez deliver rabble-rousing oratories in between songs. Largely produced by DP themselves, Let's Get Free varies from early RZA soulsonics to Southern down-bottomed bounce. Adrenaline-boosting songs like "I'm an African" and "Hip-hop" are unadulterated semiautomatic funk; "psychology" and "animal in man" tug at the heartstrings like militant blues songs. Numbers like "Police State," "Behind Enemy Lines," "'They' Schools" and "We Want Freedom" equate classrooms with jail cells, the projects with killing fields and everything from water to television with conduits for brainwashing by the system. - Rolling Stone

Rappers M1 and, collectively known as dead prez, have teamed up with the Hip-Hop Caucus, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International to slam the alleged anti-terror tactics of the Bush Administration and call for the shutdown of the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The AFP reports that during a news conference in the Capitol Hill press briefing room yesterday (June 19), M1 compared the targeting of African-Americans by the U.S. government to current policies that deny accused terrorists the right to challenge their accusers in court. “We are victims of a war that has been directed at our community under the guise of the war on drugs,” M1 told a group of anti-war activists and reporters.

Civil liberties activists have long accused the government of using torture and coercion while interrogating terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay facility. The contingent has plans for a petition asking Congress to restore habeas corpus—the legal action that allows a prisoner to challenge their detention in a court of law—and a rally on Washington on June 26. Following yesterday’s press conference, dead prez was scheduled to take part in a “Hip-Hop for Habeas” concert at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 club. The press conference and concert both coincided with the unofficial “Juneteenth” celebration, which marks the day slavery was abolished in the United States on June 19, 1865. “We are here to link that struggle to this struggle,” said Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., head of the Hip-Hop Caucus. “It is not about us or me when the richest country in the world is rolling back our rights.”

- XXL magazine


Let’s Get Free
Get Free or Die Trying
Turn Off the Radio
Can’t Sell Dope Forever
Soldier to Soldier



Continuing on the path of politically minded artists like Public Enemy, 2pac and KRS-One, the Florida-formed-New York based outfit known as Dead Prez has been crafting revolutionary but gangsta hip-hop since the late 1990s. Taking inspiration from the life and social activism of Malcolm X, Sticman and M-1, the duo who comprise Dead Prez, have released two proper albums, two underground mix-tapes and two solo albums of street level political hip-hop that is heavily aligned with challenging the status quo, prompting London's Daily Telegraph to say, "Dead Prez uses music not to lie about having expensive cars or girlfriends with big bottoms, but to rail against the inequities in American society. They do so with an insight and honesty that is rare in any art-form, let alone hip-hop."
Stic Man and M-1 first started collaborating when they met on the campus of Florida A&M University. M1 was in school at the time studying economics and stic was a local in the streets of Tallahssee doing the same. They both shared a common understanding of the need for change in their communities and the society at large, and they eventually became organizers and members of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement. During this time the comrades grew significantly in their political eductaion. Both being emcees and avid hip hop fans, and needing a bigger platform for their organizing efforts they decided New York City would be a great move to get their music broader appeal.
Once in New York, the group dubbed themselves Dead Prez (after "dead presidents," a slang term for money and a literal meaning that means the system as it stands is dead for the people, and also that the massess of the people are "dead" to the knowledge of ourselves and should be the rightful presidents of our own lives). A chance meeting with Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar led the group to sign with Loud Records. However, before the band even signed on the dotted line, they collaborated with various artists, and dropped mix tapes. In 1997, the group first appeared on the Loud 97 Set Up tape, with "Food, Clothes and Shelter." In 1998, Sticman produced and collaborated with mainstream hip-hop artist Big Punisher on his Platinum debut Capital Punishment . dead prez went on to release the singles "Police State With Chairman Omali" and "It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop" . Along with a captivating live show, dead prez amassed a major buzz, leading up to the release of their debut for Loud/RCA/BMG--2000's Let's Get Free.
Let's Get Free was the first introduction to Sticman and M-1's revolutionary hip-hop lifestyle--one that strayed from the normal mainstream rapper's subject matter without creating alienation from the streets. In 2002 and 2003, the group returned with a follow-up to Let's Get Free, with the two-volume mixtape project Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape, Vol. 1 and Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape, Vol. 2: Get Free or Die Tryin'. Recreating hits by Aaliyah, Black Rob, and the Notorious B.I.G., the group infused their political ideals into the melodic confines of other artists' songs. Commenting on the project, Sticman said, "We took the popular songs that we love because of the hot sound or the melody or whatever and made it relative to Black people's struggle. It means it's a lot more we could be talking about with these great hits."
In 2004, Dead Prez released RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta on Columbia Records. Featuring, a collaboration with Jay-Z on the remix for "Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)," the record created a sonic and philosophical bridge between the much misunderstood gang cluture and revolutionary activism. Stic Man explained, "With each album we have a new sound vision and message where we want to fuse certain things. We think about music that we like and certain artists from back in the days to right now whether it be Dr. Dre or Curtis Mayfield or Lil' Jon or Trick Daddy or Sade or Portishead. We take inspirations from all our favorite music and we fuse elements from that and until we feel like it represents what we're trying to represent." Summing up the group's aesthetic, Stic Man said, "Like a healthy meal, we strive to create albums that are balanced…with a few flavorful surprises."
In June 2006, the cable movie network Starz In Black began airing an original documentary called "dead prez: It's Bigger Than Hip Hop" directed by John Threat. The hour-long documentary featured live footage and interviews with dead prez. It also featured interviews from Kamel Bell, owner of Ankh Marketing and son of incarcerated Black Panther Herman Bell; Fred Hampton Jr., son of Black Panther Chief of Staff and Spokesman Fred Hampton; and radio personality Davey D. Among the topics discussed in the documentary are the inadequacies of the public education system, minority entrepreneurship, and social revolution.M1 stated, "we've never had the opportunity to express ourselves on this level of magnitude. Starz InBlack taking a chance on us lets us know th