Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury
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Although this group is long defunct, its one major recording will be fondly remembered for years--if not decades--to come. The Heroes consisted of rapper Michael Franti and percussionist Ron Tse; together, the San Francisco Bay area-based duo created a biting, politically savvy record that touched on both personal vulnerability and governmental venality. Franti used the microphone to preach about injustice, homophobia, materialism, and apathy. Although Public Enemy had long before established hip-hop's political potential, they never quite attained Franti's ability to translate black rage into universal themes. In the Heroes' best number, "Television, the Drug of the Nation," Franti raps, "Imagination is sucked out of our children by a cathode ray nipple / Television is the only wet-nurse that would create a cripple." Unfortunately, after extensive touring, the pair went their separate ways, Tse to a variety of solo projects and Franti to Spearhead. --Martin Johnson
Top Customer Reviews
The Disposable Heroes were an industrial-hip-hop-performance poetry duo from the early 90s who pulled absolutely no punches when it came to their subject matter. Being an explicitly political group, much of this album refers to events and personalities current in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War and the United States of George Bush Snr. That said, there is a surprising universality in some of the tracks which enables them to communicate their message more than 10 years after they were recorded.
The most well-known performance on this album is the minor hit "Television, The Drug Of A Nation". Franti's condemnation of television culture "where pop stars metamorphosise into soda pop stars/you saw the movie/you heard the soundtrack/now buy the drink/for the only cola that I support/would be a Union COLA - Cost of Living Allowance" is as current now as it was then. Indeed, the plethora of reality TV shows in today's world demonstrates the validity of Franti's comments.
Also worth a listen is "Satanic Reverses" (itself a reference to Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses"), a condemnation of almost everything a government could possibly do - with the strident chorus "bail out the banks/loan art to the churches/satanic reverses".Read more ›
The lyrics are deeply thought-provoking, proving this duo to be pretty much the antithesis of NWA (not that NWA doesn't make you think at all -- I'll bet someone out there somewhere has done their dissertation on NWA). Unlike many other albums out there, the first two tracks here are not the 'hits' (actually, I feel that they are the weakest of the bunch). Instead you'll probably find your favorites dispersed throughout the CD, including a strong closing track.
Buy this CD if you want to hear something refreshing (even over a decade after it was fresh).
Listenable, yet demanding, the Heroes deliver melody and musically complex arrangements. Samples are used liberally, with synths providing a techno background for their funk. When the band reincarnated as Spearhead, the synth player/co-writer was missing from the lineup. That was a loss as this album proves. Nevertheless, Spearhead is also worth a listen, especially if you like the Heroes.
Sadly, the Disposable Heroes never got the recognition they deserved, putting out just this one album to my knowledge. It's one of my Top 5 Hip-Hop favorites of all time. Check it out.
Most recent customer reviews
I like the CD. We need more music with a political message. Buy this just to read the lyrics. The lyrics have amazing relevance to what is happening in the world now. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2003
Ok, I do admit, that this is not the first political Rip-Hop sudo Hip-Hop artist to be left winging it. From the originators of Consolidated can you be surprised at the material. Read morePublished on July 26 2003 by EquinoX
Hip-Hop is an amazing form of expression. However this is just not a good album. I know most of us want to believe in it because of the political messages spewed forth by Franti,... Read morePublished on May 20 2003
This is a horrible record. The MC's flow is incredibly weak, he has no understanding of rhyme at all, the beats are powder puff material, the most uncool, unhip stuff ever... Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2003
One day a friend told me a surprising story... A friend of his was doing his Ph.D thesis on an American hip-hop band! Read morePublished on March 15 2002 by Alfredo Sanz Hervas
Michael Franti is an incredible musician, and he surrounds himself with incredible musicians. What else is great? The message. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2001 by Sean
If you're even thinking about getting this album you should just buy it because you won't be disappointed. Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2000 by dcinDC
It almost seems too good to be true: a hip-hop album that's at once scathingly political, smart enough to address the ambiguities of its subject matter rather than resorting to... Read morePublished on May 24 2000
Although this CD has been in my collection for about ten years, it is one of the most timeless pieces I own. Read morePublished on Feb. 12 2000 by Andre R Bowens