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Dead Prez

RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta (Sony/Columbia)

Cops and white men beware: Dead Prez has secured another record deal and is ready to unleash its onslaught once again. Four years ago, the act's debut, Let's Get Free, criticized the government, the school system and the police force, not to mention other artists who waste music by singing or rapping about nonsense. This time around, MCs M-1 and Stic are still speaking on the same topics, but there's more aggression. The first single, "Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)," urges the listener to take advantage of opportunities for devising credit card scams, making fake IDs, scamming the WIC office and robbing the register while at work. "I Have a Dream Too" finds them fantasizing about taking revenge on cops who murder innocent people of color. (The remix has Jay-Z assaulting the system as well.) "W4" explores the hardships of today's underpaid and overworked American labor force by likening the work environment to slavery.

Although the album mainly assaults the man, the group also exhorts the common people. "Walk Like a Warrior," featuring Krayzie Bone, encourages people to get involved in a movement or organization that fights oppression; "F-d Up" deals with alcoholism in the community; and "Radio Freq" takes the radio industry to task for its imbalance and promotion of stereotypical images, along with the artists who perpetuate them. M-1 and Stic may not be as articulate as Talib Kweli, Chuck D or even KRS-One, but their philosophies and beliefs are genuine -- a rarity in hip-hop nowadays. Let the revolution begin.

 
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