Get This Record or Die Trying
Its risky to defy an entire genre, but that’s what Dead Prez did on their debut Lets Get Free. SticMan and M1 penned lyrics about eating vegan and drinking water (not malt liquor), about conversing with your girlfriend instead of playin’ her, about taking health, education and revolution seriously. Though angry throughout all their rhymes, Dead Prez remain optimistic, offering solutions to the many problems that ghetto youth face instead of embracing the thug life that so many other rappers cash in on. They took a risk and made an intelligent hip-hop album in a genre that was growing stagnant and devoid of real substance. Now SticMan and M1 are back as Dead Prez with Get Free or Die Trying: The Mixtape Vol.2, another swipe at generic gangsta rap, racism, and the corrupt system.While Lets Get Free was a monumental album from first note to last, Get Free or Die sounds more like a hip-hop sampler. Many of the best tracks are cut short, just as they start to pick up momentum. This mix is still better than 99% of commercial hip-hop, but Lets Get Free set a high watermark and Dead Prez have yet to surpass.
Get Free or Die is packed with intelligent political lyrics by SticMan and M1 running the full range from revolutionary, overthrow-the-system anthems to more introspective rhymes about youth and family. Onyx make a notable guest appearance on “Last Days Reloaded,” a well-crafted look at street violence. While some tracks have a slightly generic commercial hip-hop influence, Dead Prez stay true to their ethic that “its bigger than hip-hop” with their parting message – “Turn the radio off.”