Mat Ward

1. Public Enemy frontman Chuck D is back with another hard-hitting solo album. The Black In Man blends his baritone tones with heavy metal riffage and super-heavy funk. There's no let-up in his cutting wordplay and pointed barbs at the state of modern rap, such as the line: "I'm no fan of how urban radio has made rap fit for animals, best exhibited in some of today's mixtape culture, which invites black men into USA jails.

The Redfern Tent Embassy is calling for more people to show solidarity with its protest against the commercial development of the iconic Block in Sydney.

"We need more males down here in particular," Embassy founder Jenny Munro told Green Left Weekly at the site on August 13. "There have been a few incidents and people are concerned for their safety at night."

Maori protester Tepora Stephens, a 46-year-old former unionist who quit her job to join the protest, said the number of tents at the site was deceptive.

Revolutionary Minded 4
Marcel Cartier
Released July 26, 2014
http://bit.ly/1qYcIQ7

US rapper Marcel Cartier's lines usually ring out with the clarity of a clarion call - and the messages on his latest album are as loud and clear as ever. As he tells Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward, much of the material comes from first-hand experience with struggles around the world.

The Invisible Hand of Market
Cyclotimia
Released April 2014
www.cyclotimia.com

Russian electronic duo Cycloctimia's fascination for technology and sharemarkets has paid dividends – more than 10 satirical albums so far. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to Max K, who describes his role as “keyboards, music, sampling and market rituals”.

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Tell us a bit about your childhood in Russia.

Blue Volume
Joelistics
Released June 20, 2014
Elefant Traks
www.joelistics.com

The flawless music on Joelistics' second solo album is more than matched by the depth of his lyrics - an unflinching look at Australian reality. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward went through the words with the rapper, who brings some much-needed grit to Australian hip-hop.

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On "Say I'm Good" you rap:

I'm an oddball, on the wrong team
All my friends are out of step with the mainstream
And the nightmare is in full swing

Big Kitty Life
MC Dukebox
Released December 2013
Impossible Odds Records
www.dukebox.net.au

MC Dukebox says he named his debut album "Big Kitty Life" because he was sick of seeing government funds misspent.

"It's referring to a big kitty of funding that everyone's lining up for with a different excuse for why they deserve the money and how they're going to benefit their surrounding communities," says the Indigenous rapper, who hails from Inverell in north-west NSW.

The Merry Grinchmas Mixtape
MC Bunz
Released December 25, 2013
Free download

When Glen Anderson was playing sport with his schoolfriends, he was suddenly surrounded by police who ordered him to lay flat on the ground.

One
L-FRESH The LION
Vienna People Recordings
Released May 9, 2014
www.l-fresh.com

Rapper L-FRESH The LION is as well known for his activism as he is for his music. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Sydney-raised Sikh about his newly released debut album, One.

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The Snowden Files
Luke Harding
Random House
February 2014
352 pages, $30

Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws.

The Guardian journalist tells a detailed story of Edward Snowden - from his childhood in a military, Republican family, his short education and brief, failed army career, to his meteoric rise through the intelligence services that eventually enabled him to turn whistleblower.

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