Artist: dead prezTitle: Get Free or Die Tryin: Turn Off the Radio Vol. 2Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Dead Prez provided a critical addition to the chapter of Pro-Black hip-hop with their 1999 debut, Lets Get Free. While the album was politically potent and socially challenging, the album also found listeners for its principles of great songs. A track like Mind Sex remains one of hip-hops greatest love songs. After their record label, Loud Records, folded, dead prez released the street-acclaimed, Turn off the Radio mixtape last year. Since then, rumors circulated of Sticman and M-1 courting offers from the likes of Bad Boy and Roc-A-Fella Records. With neither scenario happening, dpz put out their newest installment independently again.
Lyrically, dead prez have only gotten better. They have newer issues, deeper emotions, and stronger ways of presenting these ideas. A track like, Babyface serves as a newspaper anthology to all the corruption in America this past year. Beyond highlighting the negative aspects, the group also provides hope and solution. Tracks like In The World and When Mama Cries are innovative story-driven tracks of how dead prez reached their plateau of art and activism. This album is dead prezs most personal album, and answers some of the questions that remained a mystery last time around.
A dead prez album has always come with pot-luck production. In 1999, the duo got their initial buzz based on the absolutely mind-blowing bounce beat to Hip Hop. Get Free or Die Trying has a much more laid back musical approach. While the lyrics and thoughts are only sharpened, the music was dulled down. Besides the Rock-aggressive, Black Jeruz produced, F the Law, expect less bump in your trunk. While Tahir was the star last time round, his sound has softened quite a bit.
While with Loud, dead prez had an expertly marketed record with legit creativity. Given full creativity, the message is stronger and better. Still, the dead prez need to hone a sound that matches their lyrics. The aggression and their strongest asset and they need to up the beats. Nevertheless, besides the single-fiends, if you enjoyed Lets Get Free, this record will suit you like a visit to Mens Wearhouse.