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Taken from Yahoo Music (Jul 14, 2014)

Our Favorite Michael Franti Videos

by Billy Johnson, Jr.



On Friday, July 18, at 6:45 p.m. PT/9:45 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will livestream Michael Franti & Spearhead's concert from the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston. Tune in HERE to watch!

Few musicians have reinvented themselves as naturally as Michael Franti has during his nearly 30 years in the business as a member of Beatnigs, Disposable Heroes, and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Whether he's singing about homophobia, war, or true happiness, Franti is always at the top of his game when it comes to his knack for painting vivid pictures with his lyrics.


Franti's most recent example is his song "11:59," a collaboration with London's Sonna Rele.



[Related: Michael Franti Says Students' "I'm Alive" Cover Moved Him to Tears]


Below, see more of his work in a collection of our favorite Michael Franti videos. Enjoy.

1. "Language of Violence," 1992

With his second group, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Franti tackled several political issues head-on. "Language of Violence" offers a chilling account of homophobia. Franti objectively paints a picture of a teenage boy being labeled a homosexual and beaten and ultimately killed by a gang of school bullies. When one of the perpetrators is imprisoned for the crime, he meets a similar, karmic demise when inmates sexually assault him.



2. "Why Oh Why," 1997

As usual, Franti proves to be an adept storyteller on "Why Oh Why," the second single from Chocolate Supa Highway, his sophomore album with Spearhead. Over a soulful ballad track, Franti describes being haunted by the deaths of many of his childhood friends with whom he used to play basketball. The painful losses have prompted him to rap, "At times I want to blow my brains to put my mind at ease."



3. "Time to Go Home," 2006

Franti's trip to the Middle East - Iraq, Israel, and Palestinian territories - prompted Michael Franti & Spearhead to write and record Yell Fire! an album in support of the film Just Yell Fire. On the song "Time to Go Home," Franti takes a stance against war and calls out politicians. In the opening lyric he sings, "Those who start wars, never fight them/And those who fight wars, they never like them." Part of the chorus makes a plea to stop sending soldiers off to battle: "Don't take our boys away, no/Don't take our girls away, no." The black-and-white video includes war footage.



4. "Say Hey (I Love You)," 2009

After more than 20 years in the music business, Franti scored his first top 20 hit with "Say Hey (I Love You)" from Michael Franti & Spearhead's sixth studio album, All Rebel Rockers. The high-spirited, reggae-tinged song was featured in films Valentine's Day, Ramona and Beezus, and The Back-Up Plan.



5. "The Sound of Sunshine," 2010

Produced by Franti and Sly & Robbie, this upbeat and uplifting song was actually inspired by one of the singer's toughest times. While hospitalized for a week for undiagnosed ruptured appendix, Franti developed a new appreciation for the simpler aspects of life. "Every day, I go to the window, I'd peel the curtains. I'd look out there to see if the sun was shining as I was coming back from surgery," Franti told Yahoo Music back in 2010. "If it was shining, I would get this feeling of optimism. If I could bottle that sensation, it would be a great gift to give." The results scored Franti another hit record.


 
 

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