Reviewed by Sujatha Fernandes
Michael Franti, hip-hop artist formerly from the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, has released Home with his new band Spearhead. Franti, together with vocalist Mary Harris, presents the usual hip-hop rhythms and beats using a variety of styles ranging from jazz to African to folk. And of course there is the clearly articulated politics and social commentary that is central to Franti's music.
The album consists of songs about AIDS and the terror of testing positive, songs about poverty in America and songs about the oppression of black people and indigenous people around the world.
In his description of social problems such as crime, poverty and homelessness, Franti consistently locates the cause within the system of US-style capitalism.
On this CD there are a number of hopeful signs of how people have fought this system in the past, and how they will continue to fight it. In the song "Dream Team", Franti lists his ideal basketball team, a team of revolutionary leaders who can bring down the system. Malcolm X is the coach to draw up the strategy, the general manager is Chief Crazy Horse, and some of the players are black liberation leaders Angela Davis and Nat Turner. Meanwhile Bill Clinton is selling popcorn in the stands.