Taken from Scottish Socialist Voice (June 01, 2001)
Franti's hard hitting hip hop
by Wullie McGartland
Stay Human - Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti continues with his own brand of political hip hop, with this, his third album with San Francisco outfit Spearhead. This is Franti's third and longest lasting band. He started out in the Beatnigs (who once played an anti-poll tax gig in Glasgow back in 1989) before moving on to the Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy.
The Stay Human album sees Franti and Spearhead continue with their own brand of socially driven hip hop.
There are references to anti-globalisation, political sleaze, gun control and the death penalty, to name but a few. In fact the death penalty features heavily throughout the album with quotes form the likes of Jello Biafra, Bono and Angela Davis condemning this form of state approved murder.
Musically, Spearhead have moved away the reggae vibe of their last outing, Chocolate Super Highway, with this album having a much more laid back, 70s funk feel.
Throughout the album there are radio excerpts, reporting the fictitious case of Sister Fatima, a black woman wrongfully sitting on death row for the murder of a white couple, and the way she is used politically by the right wing 'hang em high' governor. This is definitely Franti's best album yet. They'll be promoting it at a gig in Glasgow on May 30. If you get the chance, buy the album and go and see them - you won't be disappointed.
Look out for the interview with Michael Franti - coming soon in the Voice