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By Martin Mudd

In their best album since the groundbreaking debut Let’s Get Free, revolutionary hip-hop duo dead prez have released a masterpiece in Information Age. In the decade following Let’s Get Free, stic.man and M-1 have released some great singles amid some weaker material, but this album is a rock-solid return to form, a much-needed update to their radical message encoded in catchy beats and poetic lyrics.

Since their early days, dead prez have geared their artistic decisions toward using popular musical forms to spread their uncompromisingly revolutionary message to a wide audience. Let’s Get Free was a savvy blend of gangsta-rap bangers and soul-inspired tunes; Information Age, meanwhile, adapts recent trends in hip-hop and electro to incorporate bust-ya-shit-out dance beats and synthesized vocals. What has not changed is dead prez’s lyrical quality and flows, which are liquid, inspired, and inspiring. If something inside you has not changed by the time you finish listening to this album, then you probably need to check yourself. Continue reading »

 

Thursday, August 11

Ben Lacy

Cheapside; 131 Cheapside. 9 P.M.

Ben Lacy’s guitar prowess is such that many who hear him play experience an extreme emotional response as a result, such as intense crying jags, fits of cackling laughter, alternating terror and ecstasy—that sort of thing. Attending his performances thus feels a bit like staring into the face of God; you’re overcome with awe, your senses explode and then dim forever, and you end up drooling in a ditch, unresponsive to stimuli.

And that’s why Ben Lacy needs a new name. I mean, “Ben Lacy” is a perfectly pleasant moniker: “Ben” is a welcoming word, similar to the French “bien” and “bon,” and evocative of the Sanskrit root “bhanu,” the Sun, while “Lacy” is a seductive, Latinate thing. When you hear them together you think, oh, he’s a really nice guy, I bet, and you probably smile and think about your loved ones, and of hugging them. Mm. Continue reading »