Taken from Raptorial (Dec, 2000)
Michael Franti - Live at the Baobab (2000)
Spearhead Parts Ways with the Majors and Forms its Own Label
Boo Boo Wax Records
I've been following the evolution of Michael Franti since he and Rono Tse took the harsh industrial sounds of their band the Beatnigs and morphed it into the politically groovy industrio-hip-hop of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Their shining moment, "Television (the drug of a nation)," can still be heard on cool radio stations around the world. When the Heroes folded up their tents in the early '90s, Franti once again reinvented his musical approach and formed Spearhead, one of the most consistently innovative and entertaining bands of the hip hop era. It is astounding to me that Franti & Co. haven't won a zillion music awards much less have hardly even registered a presence on MTV or commercial radio.
Perhaps this is for the best. Spearhead's first two albums, Home and Chocolate Supa Highway are nothing less than treasure. Commercialising this music would more than likely ruin the fresh "I can't believe I've never heard of these guys!" nature that surrounds Spearhead's albums and live performances even after repeated exSPEARiences (a band coined word).
Franti's songs/raps are stories from the heart... some sad, some glad, some mad... but all lyrically potent and firmly grounded in love and inclusion. This is a band with a positive message about getting along with your fellow humans no matter what they look like and realizing that it is our common enemies, namely ignorance and greed , that are oppressing us.
Live at the Baobab is part Franti spoken word performance and part acoustic Spearhead show. Over the course of seven nights, it was recorded live at the Baobab restaurant, in the heart of the mission district in San Francisco, CA. It compiles the best moments from those shows which drew songs from the first two Spearhead albums and introduced several new pieces. The five new tracks are: "Every Single Soul" - "Stay Human" - "We Don't Mind" - "Sometimes" - "Oh My God". There are also five tracks (each called "words") of playful bantering with the audience interspersed throughout the disc. Spearhead is the best band with which to shake your booty and get enlightened simultaneously.
It's been almost four years since Spearhead's last studio release. If the five new tracks on this live disc are an indication, the band's next release is gonna blow a lot of people away.