Dead Prez

Get Free or Die Tryin' (Landspeed)

Love or loathe the politics of the radical fringe, it's hard to deny the left's musical potency. Gang of Four, Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine -- you never had to work out their multiple contradictions to appreciate the most important byproduct of their fury. Florida's Dead Prez doesn't bring quite the noise of these exalted peers, but its anger and the severity of its solutions take a back seat to none.

Which is to say that M1 and use the second volume of their mix-tape series to indulge their crackpot New Black Panther theories again. The title, Get Free or Die Tryin', is a sarcastic reference to 50 Cent's chart-topping debut; Dead Prez peddles the same violence and materialism -- they just exalt the old '60s line that instead of thuggin' for yourself, you should thug for the revolution. The seductive settings for the stale ideas should ensure they reach the masses. With proud rhythms from the African diaspora adding complexity to the raw hip-hop heartbeat and passionate rhymes, Get Free makes its strongest statement musically.