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Spearhead

Michael Franti released only one album as half of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, but it was praised for his insightful raps and Public Enemy-influenced beats. After disappearing for two years, Franti resurfaced in 1994 with Spearhead, a band more rooted in '70s funk. Eschewing the hip-hop beats of the Disposable Heroes, Franti and Joe "The Butcha" Nicolo opted for a funk/rap hybrid performed by a quartet of live musicians and with vocal backing from Mary Harris and toaster Ras I. Zulu. Tracks such as "Runfayalife" and "Crime to Be Broke in America" evoked memories of the classic early-'70s musical vision of Sly & the Family Stone, while Franti's humanist outlook was summed up in song titles "Love Is da S**t," "Piece O'Peace," and "Positive."

Three years lapsed before the release of the follow-up album, Chocolate Supa Highway, although Franti continued to promote his communal vibe with a series of acclaimed live shows under the Spearhead banner. Another long recording hiatus, during which Franti released a spoken word album (Live at Baobab) and concentrated on other projects, was broken in 2001 by the release of Stay Human, credited to Michael Franti and Spearhead. The album was built around the imaginary tale of Sister Fatima, a healer and activist put to death for a crime that her community believes she did not commit. Franti employed a traditional hip-hop conceit, the between-song skit or segment, to voice the concerns of Stay Human Radio at the impending execution. Through this medium, Franti delivered his message on such issues as capital punishment, the environment, and racial tolerance.

In 2003, Franti released the solo acoustic selection Songs from the Front Porch and the new Spearhead album Everyone Deserves Music. The latter steered the unit further away from hip-hop into acoustic funk, and featured the endearing protest anthem "Bomb the World" ("You can bomb the world to pieces/But you can't bomb it into peace"). In 2005, Love Kamikaze: The Lost Sex Singles & Collectors' Remixes appeared. Again billed only to Franti, it was a collection of Spearhead tracks that didn't quite fit into the albums they were originally recorded for (as well as a couple different mixes from the Stay Human album). In 2006, Franti and Spearhead released Yell Fire! The album was partially recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, and, along with the book and film I Know I'm Not Alone, was part of a trilogy that was themed as documenting Franti's recent visits to Israel, Palestine, and Iraq. Numerous live releases took Franti and Spearhead to 2008 and a new album, All Rebel Rockers. The album was once again recorded in Jamaica and featured the legendary rhythm section of Sly & Robbie. Franti and his band spent a few months touring in support of John Mayer before settling down to record again, releasing The Sound of Sunshine in 2010. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Jammin!
I would say Michael Franti and Spearhead rate up there with Bob Dylan, John Trudell and the Grateful Dead. The music does more than entertain. The messages of love, compassion, global unity. The music is so uplifting. I am over 55 and have been to many concerts, ones I paid for and the free events held in golden gate park an provo park in Oakland, California. There music speaks to my soul

ganja babe
hell yea!!
Love me some Michael Franti! His energy is incredible!
olga_g
Micheal Franti and Spearhead are on the top of my music list. They rock....
All the freaky people make the beauty of the world!
tinamacd2003
Sam Smith....hit s the nail on the head. A better bio is much overdue...ha v e seen these guys 8 times and they are amazing, powerful and insightful. Could go on for days. Power to the Peaceful.
fnkychic
Thank you.
cam_brady
Dear Pandora,
This man deserves a MUCH BETTER bio!
cam_brady
SPEARHEAD IS THE TRUTH!!!
Making hip-hop accessible to yuppies since 1994! Also this group is pretty tame politically, which is a shame because hip-hop was originally so feared because of it's radical message. Hip-hop, punk and black metal all started out as something to be feared, as something dangerous, as something that could have changed the face of music. But instead of leading revolutions, they've all been co-opted by the system that they all tried to defy. So f**k Spearhead, even though I like them.
Check out wikipedia. Mr Franti is a very interesting guy. Finnish parents. Goes barefoot. From Oakland. 15 years of recordings.
i know, right? hardly anything-- and then you have a one hit wonder from 1976 and he/she gets a whole page worth of info!

anyway, i don't know where brotha man is now but he needs to keep putting out music. "you can't play our song" is the cut! love that song!
michelebeall
that's really all they could come up with for their bio? wow...
mnperch3
The greatest poetic, political, lyrical voice giving strength and unity to those living for peace and love.
saundra8
There is a strength and confidence in Michael Franti's voice, which to me, is inspiring and touching
if only the lyrics were required reading some more people might wake up...and the beat to soothe the soul and motivate the body....buil d an army and train them for health care here here love them thank them everyday'
Michael Franti, along with Spearhead, uniquely combine reggae, 70s funk, and a new "re-vamped" early 90's era hip hop (with a hint of J5) to successfully create a breed of music that does not entail any hint of his former self (Need I mention the terrible use of beats/sample s along with bad intonation). Spearhead Thumbs Up!

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