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Dead Prez

Dead Prez live at the Resistance Festival, 2009, Greece
Background information
Origin Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1996 - present
Associated acts Immortal Technique, Saigon
Website deadprez.com
Members
stic.man
M-1

Dead Prez is an American underground political hip hop duo composed of stic.man and M-1. They are known for their confrontational style combined with socialist and pan-Africanist lyrics. These lyrics tend to focus on revolution, veganism, institutional racism, critical pedagogy, police, capitalism, education, prison systems, religion, activism against governmental repression, and corporate control over the media, especially hip-hop record labels. Dead Prez made their stance clear on their first album, declaring on the lead song, "I'm a African" that the group is "somewhere between N.W.A. and P.E."

Contents

History

In 1990, M-1 headed to Tallahassee to attend FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) where he and stic.man met and connected due to their mutual love of music and similar political ideology. There, their views solidified, M-1 becoming particularly interested in the Black Panther Party.

M-1 joined the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) in Chicago for three years while stic.man remained behind in Florida and started getting into trouble. Burned out by the arduous labor of Uhuru, M-1 decided it was time to focus on music and stic.man agreed.

Dead Prez transcribed the political education they acquired into lyrical poetry. Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar discovered them in New York and helped them sign a deal with Loud Records, but being new on a famous label like Loud (home to the Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep) was not easy. Although Dead Prez was not always Loud's top priority, they built a fan base thanks to their over-the-top performances (they've been known to ignite dollar bills and toss apples into the audiences, declaring that they must eat healthily).

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Releases

M1 speaking at a rally for death row prisoner Troy Davis, New York City, 2009.

The duo's debut album was 2000's Let's Get Free, which featured a major hit with the song "Hip Hop" from the year before. The album was well-received by critics, and included intense political diatribes featuring prominent black activist Omali Yeshitela, as well as "Animal in Man" - a retelling of George Orwell's Animal Farm. The instrumental version of their song "Hip Hop" was used as Dave Chappelle's entrance music for his show on Comedy Central, and can be heard on every episode. The popular video game SKATE also features the song "Hip Hop" in their sound track. In 2001 they collaborated with The Coup, another politically active hip-hop outfit, to release Get Up. In 2002, Dead Prez released the independent mix tape Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape Vol. 1, followed by the release of Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape Vol. 2: Get Free or Die Tryin' in 2003. Also in 2003, their song "Hell Yeah" was featured in the 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack. In 2004, Columbia Records finally released Revolutionary But Gangsta. They were featured performers on the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party, recorded in 2004 and released in 2006. In 2006, they and former 2Pac collaborators, the Outlawz, jointly released an album titled Can't Sell Dope Forever. In 2006, M1 also recorded a solo album titled "Confidential". From the album, the song "'Til We Get There" was on the EA Sports video game NBA Live 2007. In 2007, stic.man released his own solo album titled "Manhood" with Boss Up Inc. / Traffic records. M-1 appears with ProfessorD.us, of the politically charged Hip Hop group The Dope Poet Society, on the track "Everything's Political" off the 2008 album THIRD WORLD WARriors Vol. 1. On the track, M-1 and ProfessorD.us trade verses in response to the question "why is your music always so political?". In 2008, Stic.Man appeared on "Changing Weather", the first single from Marcel Cartier's album "Revolutionary Minded 2".

Dead Prez released a mixtape entitled "Pulse of the People: Turn Off Your Radio Vol. 3" on June 23rd, 2009. The mixtape is hosted by DJ Green Lantern. [1]

Dead Prez uses the shi hexagram, "Leading" or "The Army", as part of their logo.

Documentary

In June 2006, the cable movie network Starz InBlack 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, along with 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; Bay Area rapper and poet Ise Lyfe, and hip-hop activist 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.

Our aim is to provide a programming experience that viewers will not get anywhere else. We like to push the limits and go where other networks fear to tread. We recognized in Dead Prez a message that deserves to be heard. Not everyone will agree with them, but that's OK. We aim to enlighten and entertain, and 'Dead Prez: It's Bigger than Hip Hop' does both.

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 that the work we are doing is not in vain. That our message is penetrating, it's getting through."[2]

Discography

  • 2000: Let's Get Free
  • 2002: Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape Vol. 1
  • 2003: Turn off the Radio: The Mixtape Vol. 2: Get Free or Die Tryin'
  • 2004: Revolutionary But Gangsta
  • 2008: Live in San Francisco
  • 2009: Pulse of the People: Turn off the Radio Vol. 3 (with DJ Green Lantern) [3]
  • 2009: Information Age[4]

References

External links


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