Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Hear Home and you immediately hear why Michel Franti disposed of Disposable Heroes and created Spearhead. Where the Heroes' arty beatscapes were mechanical and heavily sampled, Franti's new joint is all natural: a "real" b... more »
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Hear Home and you immediately hear why Michel Franti disposed of Disposable Heroes and created Spearhead. Where the Heroes' arty beatscapes were mechanical and heavily sampled, Franti's new joint is all natural: a "real" band, soulful backing divas, melodies, loose and funky beats. The title track's just Franti with acoustic guitar, singing quietly. Vernon Reid adds a cruel solo to "Caught Without an Umbrella"; "Love Is da Shit" revives Go-Go. And whether he's anxiously awaiting the results of an AIDS test, debating if he should place change in a homeless man's cup, or speaking to folks caught between ideologies on the left and right, Franti's poetry/slam rhymes are surely among hip hop's brightest science. --David Cantwell
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jasemana | Los Angeles, Ca. United States | 11/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I don't usually listen to rap music ~ call it a character flaw if you will, but this CD should please the inexperienced ear as well as rap coinsures alike.Prior to hearing 'Home' I had only been privy to raps' beginnings, the time when NWA and Public Enemy first began recording, driving to HS in a friend's car with the music bOOming, setting off car alarms all the way ~ I usually spent first and second period with a headache. Subsequently, I didn't listen to much of it on my own. Then another (concerned) friend introduced me to Spearhead. I was reluctant at first, naturally, but I was literally amazed when I opened up to it. Of course it's got the token sound: heavy on the bass and drum, a little scratching and a few other turntable tricks here and there which all seem to work, but at its very core 'Home' is a wonder. First of all there is the song writing which is, fresh, original, and melodic. The music itself has a nice conglomeration of rhythm and blues, rap and funk so that you're not bogged down in a bass line that repeats over and over for 4 minutes with no other elements except tired lyrics to break up the monotony. Each songs' structure is rich in a variety of instruments including guitar, keyboards, conga, and saxophone.The lyrics on the CD is what grabbed me secondly ~ well-conceived, socially conscious words that flow easily through each track into the next like poetry. Some of the tunes boast lyrics with the hard edge that one would expect from a rap group, but they're not entirely about 'cruising down the street in my '64' and they're definitely not ordinary. Rather, they're lyrics are less esoteric than anything I've heard from a rap group and more about all of us (IMO). There is a nice balance here between songs of 'desperation,' lighthearted incidental tunes and songs of love, 'Red Beans and Rice' being the pinnacle of the groups' sense of humor and probably the best track on the album.Third is the vocals, mostly derived from Michael Franti's guttural velvet voice, but also from the more than competent female backing vocalist who adds equal parts of harmony and feminine love to the tracks. The two complement each other quite well bring a nice contrast in flavor. Lastly, the production of the album is first rate. Even the most busy tunes on the album, those that have a wide variety of instruments recurring, lead and backing vocals, and the DJ doing his thing, are mixed perfectly. The overall effect is an album that is rich, tribal, stylish, beautiful, and presented in such a way that all these elements shine through clearly.I highly recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys rap music, or who would like to, but it doesn't stop there ~ if you like R&B, funk, or drum and bass you'll most definitely dig this release. Check it out!"
Kenneth W. Howes | Brentwood, California | 02/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently completed a two year stint of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Russia, and Spearhead played a vital role in my success there. I brought about fifty discs with me and, as you can imagine, some of them grew stale. But Spearhead, night after vodka night, remained fresh and kept the vibe up in my little, concrete flat as Russian friends filed through to boogy down American style (well, their vodka, my music). Although I was impressed with their knowledge of American and British artists, no Russian I met had ever heard of Spearhead, but no Russian ever left without asking to borrow my disc. The soulful nature of this album transcended national boundaries and brought a good deal of "good press" across the now defunct and rusting Iron Curtain. More important than these late-night vodka grinds was the use of Spearhead in a very successful lesson. I used the music and lyrics from "Hole in the Bucket" to teach my students at Saratov State University some much needed contemporary phrasing. Generally calm and, by our standards, rigid in the classroom, you should have seen the shoulders begin to shimmy! If they were standing, I'm sure a groove thing would have shaken. On top of the non-traditional but helpful language exchange this fostered, it also led into a week's worth of cultural issues which culminated in very interesting essays. So, in the end this becomes a thank you note to Mr. Franti and his group: thank you for making Russia groove and for your intelligent lyrics which lent themselves nicely to the lessons of a bleary-eyed instructor of the English language."
A gem of a find.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD on the strength of one song: Hole In The Bucket. The rest are as brilliant if not better. The great thing about Spearhead is that they have a concience, and a sense of irony and humour which shines through their music. Songs like Positive, Of Course You Can, and Crime To Be Broke In America all contain messages, but not such that you would be put off by them. The riffs, the shear rhythm of this CD is enough to keep you going back and listening to it again and again. I've yet to tire of it, and I've had it for over two years. I have to say that I'm glad that they're not more mainstream, as for me, they were a gem of a find."