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[Hip-Hop]

Dead Prez

Pulse

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Dead Prez - The Pulse of the People
Ben Westhoff

Dead Prez rapper M1 endorsed Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney for president last year, and it’s fair to say the duo isn’t caught up in Obama euphoria now. Tracks on new album Pulse of the People like “Stimulus Plan” take shots at our new president, asserting: “Anything for that green/It’s a scam/It’s a scheme.”

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Overall, however, the album largely tones down the inflammatory political rhetoric the group is known for, in favor of a street-level critique of society. Opening track “Runnin’ Wild” tells the story of a young, neglected boy in the ’hood who has reached his breaking point, while “Helpful” encourages people to act locally: “It’s the kind words that you gave to that homeless man/Without judging that man ... A shared blessing comes back to you.”

Make no mistake, however: The album still sounds dynamic and aggressive, thanks largely to the production of New York DJ Green Lantern, who has emerged in the past year as one of hip-hop’s top beat-makers. Eerie, minor-chord synth progressions combine with furious, driving percussion to create tracks appropriate for both political rallies and clubs. Also featuring on-point contributions from Bun B and Styles P, Pulse confirms Dead Prez’s continuing relevancy.

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