1996 in New York City.


Sounds like: Malcolm X joining A Tribe Called Quest and getting guest production from RZA. 

For fans of: A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan 

Latest release: Turn Off The Radio Vol. 4: Revolutionary but Gangsta Grillz (2010). 

Why you care: Dead Prez is one of the most politically conscious rap duos ever to have graced the game. Both MCs, and M-1, are incredibly prolific as a duo and as individuals: The former has just released an epic, no-holds-barred exercise soundtrack called The Workout; the latter is currently working on a new project called AP2P, which has been described to have "lyrics as dangerous to the establishment as the synthesis of art and the minds of these two artists." A new Dead Prez album, Information Age—rumored to feature the likes of Stephen Marley, Nas and Andre 3000—is also slated for release this year. Dead Prez specializes in the kind of rap that makes you feel inspired, powerful and more than a little angry—to dance at a Dead Prez show is really more to thrash and throw one's fists in the air between fiery interludes of comments about the Obama presidency, U.S. interventionism in Northern Africa and the Middle East, and our nation's miserable health standards (both MCs are also fitness and nutrition buffs). Dead Prez can be extreme—the group's entire discography calls, many times, for militaristic responses to racial and political oppression—but the duo does the research and has the lyrical prowess to back its positions up. 

SEE IT: Dead Prez plays the Bridge City Music Festival at Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill St., on Friday, July 6, with Wu-Tang Generals (Inspectah Deck, U-God and Cappadonna with DJ Allah Mathematics and a surprise guest), Perfect Giddimani, Romain Virgo and more. 8 pm. $45. 21+.