This week’s 5 for Friday sees me being very very very lazy as it features an act that released just the one LP.
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy formed in 1990. They consisted of Michael Franti and Rono Tse.
Upon first hearing them, courtesy of a mixtape provided by Jacques the Kipper, I initially thought it was Gil Scott Heron updating his sound to take account of hip-hop. I bought the LP Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury in 1992 and was immediately struck not just by the force and political nature of the lyrics but by the extremely clever and innovative way that rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, and jazz were blended together to make great music.
I listened again to the LP in its entirety about a month ago and couldn’t believe just how contemporary it still sounds almost 20 years on. OK, some of the issues may have moved on somewhat thanks in part to the American people electing a black president, but there’s no denying that many of the serious issues raised by Franti, including racial equality, homophobia, bullying, the unhealthy unfluence of religious zealots, greedy bankers, war and political corruption are still with us even despite there being periods over the past two decades when both the US and the UK were not being governed by ideologically-driven right-wing administrations.
There LP contains 13 tracks, of which three were released as singles. Of these, only Television, The Drug of The Nation (as featured here on TVV) really gained much exposure via radio or video-telly. So in a wee bit of a cheat, I’m including one of the other two lesser-known singles among the 5 today:-
mp3 : The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Satanic Reverses
mp3 : The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Language of Violence
mp3 : The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Socio-Generic Experiment
mp3 : The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Music and Politics
mp3 : The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Califonia Uber Alles
I'm guessing that you would have been hard pushed to hear much of this LP on American radio stations back in 1993, and having recently spent 10 days in Florida during which I searched frantically up and down the dial for something remotely half-decent or different while on long drives, I know you wont hear anything like it nowadays.
This is a social history of the last 20th Century set to a beat. It is brutally emotional and angry...and yet barely has a swear word throughout. It's work of art that is thought-provoking, educational, enlightening and entertaining. But never condescending or patronising. It is quite simply, essential listening. And what a cracking cover and update of the Dead Kennedys track.
And here's the TV clip I referred to away back in October 2006:-