dead prez

"F the Law," the first song on dead prez's Get Free or Die Tryin, shocks and prepares you for the group's oddly charismatic nihilism. "Slap a white boy, snuff your landlord, smash a window, break the camcorder, rob the corner store, bomb the precinct, chase the C.O., stab the D.T., pimp the system, bag for freedom," M-1 rants over strong guitar riffs and kick drums. He follows that verse with chants exhorting you to steal Pampers and invade colleges, and it is this philosophy of construction through destruction that makes Get Free or Die Tryin so appealing.

Unfortunately dead prez's stringent adherence to such a limited yin-yang philosophy makes the album sound monotonous. By track nine, "White House is the Rock House," where M-1 and rhyming partner expound on the government's ties to the narcotics trade, their oxymoronic knack for positive anarchy has run its creative course, even though there are still some seven songs on the sixteen-track CD to go. Get Free or Die Tryin shows how talented dead prez is while demonstrating why it needs to tackle more diverse topics if it wants to make great music. Then again, that doesn't seem to be the group's primary objective.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christopher Sanders