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Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury

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Hip-hop has its pimps and its playas; its jazz junkies; and its genre-bending preachers and poor, righteous teachers. The Disposable Heroes virtually invented the latter category, and the San Francisco crew's 1992 debut will be fondly remembered for years if not decades to come. The Heroes consisted of rapper Michael Franti and percussionist Ron Tse. Together, the duo created an arty yet trenchantly political record about the ways in which government encroachment impairs our ability to act as freethinking individuals. Franti used the microphone to speak out against class inequity, homophobia, materialism, and apathy. Whereas Public Enemy established hip-hop as an outlet for black rage, Franti's rant encompassed ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Hip-hop has its pimps and its playas; its jazz junkies; and its genre-bending preachers and poor, righteous teachers. The Disposable Heroes virtually invented the latter category, and the San Francisco crew's 1992 debut will be fondly remembered for years if not decades to come. The Heroes consisted of rapper Michael Franti and percussionist Ron Tse. Together, the duo created an arty yet trenchantly political record about the ways in which government encroachment impairs our ability to act as freethinking individuals. Franti used the microphone to speak out against class inequity, homophobia, materialism, and apathy. Whereas Public Enemy established hip-hop as an outlet for black rage, Franti's rant encompassed themes of class and gender that were too universal for a comparatively myopic visionary such as Chuck D. On what is perhaps the Heroes' best single "Television, Drug of a Nation," Frenti 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 group parted ways: Tse to a variety of solo projects, and Franti to the band Spearhead. But their memory lives on in a new crop of socially conscious hip-hop artists such as Black Star and dead prez, who are just beginning to amend the proclamation that the Heroes issued with this classic album. Martin Johnson
All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
The Disposable Heroes tackled every last big issue possible with one of 1992's most underrated efforts. Dr Dre and G-funk became all the rage by the end of the year and beyond, but for those looking for at least a little more from hip-hop than that soon-to-be-clichéd style, Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury did the business. The group's origins in the Beatnigs aren't hidden at all -- besides a stunning, menacing revision of that band's "Television, the Drug of the Nation," the Heroes' first single, the combination of Bomb Squad and industrial music approaches is apparent throughout. Consolidated's Mark Pistel co-produced the album while Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers helped mix it with the band, creating a stew of deep beats and bass and a constantly busy sonic collage that hits as hard as could be wanted, but not without weirdly tender moments as well. On its own it would be a more than attractive effort, but it's Michael Franti's compelling, rich voice and his chosen subject matter that really make the band something special. Nothing is left unexamined, an analysis of the American community as a whole that embraces questions of African-American identity and commitment "Famous and Dandy Like Amos 'n' Andy" to overall economic and political insanity "The Winter of the Long Hot Summer," a gripping, quietly threatening flow of a track. There's even a great jazz/funk number, "Music and Politics," with nothing but a guitar and Franti's fine singing voice, ruminating on emotional expression in music and elsewhere with wit and sly anger. Top it off with a brilliant reworking of the Dead Kennedys' anthem "California Uber Alles," lyrics targeting the then-governor of the state, Pete Wilson, and his questionable stances, and revolutions in thought and attitude rarely sounded so good.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/3/1992
  • Label: Fontana Island
  • UPC: 016244404320
  • Catalog Number: 444043

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Michael Franti Background Vocals, Group Member
Charlie Hunter Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Voices, Guest Appearance
Rono Tse Percussion, Drums, Steel Drums, Noise, Guest Appearance, Sheet Metal, Group Member
Simone White Drums
Technical Credits
Jello Biafra Composer
Dead Kennedys Composer
John Baker Engineer
Kim Buie Contributor, Art Direction
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy Art Direction
Michael Franti Arranger, Composer, Programming
Vivian Hall Contributor
Mark Heimback-Nielsen Contributor, Art Direction
Charlie Hunter Introduction
Mark Pistel Arranger, Programming, Engineer
Pete Scaturro Engineer
Rono Tse Sound Effects
Barbara Walker Assistant Photographer
Howie Weinberg Mastering
Mat Callahan Engineer
John Greenway Composer
Victor Hall Art Direction, Cover Photo
Sean Mathis Assistant Photographer
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