Hip hop’s most socially conscious duo, Dead Prez, debut at The Kazimier went down with full force, Getintothis‘ Beth Parker was there to watch, listen and learn from the political rap oracles.
Veganism, healthy living and exercise mightn’t necessarily fit the criteria of interests of your average rappers, but hip hop duo, Dead Prez, make sure you get your five-a-day and a whole lot more. Expect clean living, social justice and a political awakening from hip hop’s revolutionaries.
On the odd, unfortunate, occasion you leave a gig and are left speechless for all the wrong reasons. But, hopefully, most of the time you’re left lost for words because what you’ve just witnessed was something pretty spectacular. It’s safe to say that, last night, Dead Prez‘s Liverpool debut at The Kazimier definitely fell into the latter.
Dead Prez are not your average hip hop duo. Whilst most rappers talk about sex, bitches, guns and hoes, stic.man and M-1 have, for decades, preached the virtues of fitness and clean living alongside the importance of progressive ideals, social justice, education and reform. A gig with this duo is not for the politically faint hearted and if you don’t like equality, freedom or hard hitting truths than maybe this isn’t for you.
Opening with Malcolm, Garvey, Huey says it all. Written in honour of black political revolutionary leaders, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Huey P. Newton, it set the tone of the night and reminded the crowd that these legends weren’t just here to entertain but to educate and inform. From that, straight to RBG’s Hell Ya, a fast paced song describing the black American struggle, the paradoxical uptempo beats of the chorus had everyone geared up for what was yet to come. Followed by, Don’t Hate My Grind, written in response to the recession, the first three songs ensured everyone knew where we stood politically.
The one and a half hour set crammed a whole lot in to it, covering songs from the groundbreaking, Let’s Get Free, RBG: Revolutionary but Gangsta and 2012’s Information Age, as well as tracks from mix tapes, solo work and Mike Flo. Whilst it’s hard to pick between highlights from any of these, there are a few favourites, below.
Mind Sex is a stand out tune for any female… Or even male. The complete antithesis to your usual rap song about women and sex it praises the importance of good conversation, poetry and incense as opposed to grinding, banging and plain hard fucking. It proved that these boys, aren’t only militant socialists but feminists too and, whilst the female population inside last night was thin on the ground, it was appreciated by the few that were there.
It’d be blasphemy to speak of Dead Prez without mentioning their, unarguably, most famous tune, It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop. Definitely the loudest, most active part of the night the whole crowd, unsurprisingly, were jumping with hands in the air and everyone rapped along to every word. For any hip hop fan who hadn’t seen Dead Prez before it was a memorable moment.
Whilst It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop created a cranking party mood, No Way As The Way, Time Travel and W4, remained on the political track: forward looking, positive and proactive, with unifying messages. No Way As The Way is a peace-loving song, with chorus lyrics “my way may not be your way, but it’s ok, it’s alright. You’re way might not be my way, but it’s ok, it’s alright” it was upbeat and created a happy, relaxed atmosphere amongst the crowd, whilst still keeping to the core messages which Dead Prez want to convey. And just in case any of the above wasn’t enough, stic.man even offered up an exclusive from his upcoming album the Workout II, follow up to the Workout, called Run these Streets.
Support came from Liverpool’s own Beyond Average, Subculture Sage and DJs NO FAKIN’ and DJ 2KIND. Definitely Liverpool’s best hip hop act of the moment, Beyond Average again showed that they’re a force to be reckoned with and didn’t falter despite opening for some of hip hop’s greatest. Subculture Sage, gave us a wide offering, from more chilled reggae style beats to the dirtier sounding, Latino influenced, Sewer Anthem and were the perfect remedy for a crowd itching for the main act. The Kazimier itself was pretty packed and was the perfect, intimate venue to be getting a quick fire lesson in politics and social reform. It’s already proved itself to be one of of Liverpool’s most versatile venues and again showed itself to be so.
Outside of the set, Dead Prez preached the importance of fighting the fight against imperialism, social inequality and repression, whether this be in America or in UK. The messages were lapped up by the audience who agreed with the ideals and whilst this certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, for the political conscious hip hop lovers out there, this was one stellar show not to be forgotten in a long while.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Jack Thompson