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Taken from Beat Magazine (June 22, 2005)

Michael Franti - Love Kamikaze

the lost sex sessions


Michael FrantiLove Kamikaze is a dilemma. This compilation walks the tightrope between political conscience and overt sexual innuendo. This small box of forgotten odds & bods and rehashes could have been received as a published book of homemade porn: overly intimate, embarrassing and unnecessary. Although the funky, grinding, bass-fused groove suggests the latter, this collection at times celebrates Franti's lyrical ability to give hip-hop a conscience greatly superior to that of hip hop monster Where Is The Love.
The album does hold some provocative material in Love Me Unique and Keeping it Natural but Franti is best when his righteous cry is heard in What Happens Next and Stay Human, where he preaches human rights and the disposable nature of human life. The music on most tracks is straight out of a Barry White wet dream: slow, funk-infused and sleazy as all hell, but the lyrics are never crass or crude like so much current hip hop can be. Franti's vocals are deep, soulful and very akin to Mr. White, and the female backing vocals are at times suggestive, as they are in Love Kamikaze, but are never distasteful. However, after nine tracks it becomes clear why some of this was so easily forgotten. The slow, sensual drum and bass combo grow monotonous over the track of the album, and some more funk like that of What Happens Next could have been kept the album more alive.
Love Kamikaze is all that you could expect of a collection of scraps and remixes: though at times poignant, and intriguing, it does inevitably fall into dull tedium, and by the time One Minute's All I Need reaches your ears this sleazy lullaby may have sent you off to sleep. With more class than the "hoes and bitches" hip-hop crowd it is worth a listen, and if you are looking for Barry White with less guilt, this collection is definitely a healthier alternative.


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