10 October, 2003@12:00 am
Loudly proclaiming “dp’s got dat crazy shit!”, Stic.man and M-1 of Dead Prez were instrumental in making revolutionary hip-hop relevant again. Not content to just bring a message, dp also provided melodic and invigorating beats that showed a commercial potential. Sony’s decision to not release their 4.5 mic sophomore album, RBG: Revolutionary but Gangsta, and the ensuing bidding war between several large labels (Bad Boy, SRC, Virgin, Roc-A-Fella have been mentioned), has forced dp to find other means of reaching their starving fan base. Get Free Or Die Tryin fulfills the aforementioned need and provides more evidence for why there is so many disenfranchised youth in this country.
Judging from the belligerence spewed on the initial bars of “F The Law”: “Slap a white boy!/ Snuff your landlord!”, toning down the lyrical content that made them one of hip-hop’s most controversial groups doesn’t seem to be a concern. Topically the album builds on many themes from their debut Lets Get Free and also delves into more autobiographical works. “Windows To My Soul” finds Stic.man painfully recounting the horrifying experience of watching his older brother become a drug addict. More reminiscing takes place on “Coming Of Age”, where the negative impacts of growing up in the streets are explored.
Sticky Fingaz echoes the fatalistic sentiments of the inner-city youth on “Last Days Reloaded”, spitting “I ain’t got no time to think about who’s really oppressing me/ I’m too ready to smash the first nigga stressing me/ Far as I’m concerned they got us trained so well/ Look like we doing a good job of killing ourselves.” Sticky’s keen observations are sad because he has enough awareness to understand the problem, but doesn’t seem to show a willingness to be part of the solution, which makes his collaboration with such an image concious group like dp even more surprising.
With the incredible buzz that RBG… generated, it was important for dp to release material with the album’s status in limbo. Get Free Or Die Tryin’ employs a mixtape format, giving a quick and stimulating look at two MCs battling on society’s front lines. Conclusion… dp’s still got dat crazy shit!!
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