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Let's Get Free

Let's Get Free is the debut album by the alternative hip hop duo Dead Prez, released on February 8, 2000 (see 2000 in music) on Loud Records. Critically acclaimed upon its first release, Let's Get Free was called a " return to politically conscious rap"[1] and "the most politically conscious rap since Public Enemy"; the duo's messages also earned them favorable comparisons Brand Nubian and X-Clan. The album's lyrics, performed in front of sparse beats that many critics derided as a "dull musical backdrop"[1], are startlingly direct, militant and confrontational. M-1 and Sticman excoriate media, the music industry, politicians and poverty, and rap about Afrocentrism and Black Power. Rolling Stone magazine gave the album four stars and lauded its equation of "classrooms with jail cells, the projects with killing fields and everything from water to television with conduits for brainwashing by the system"[1].

The duo's radical pan-Africanism begins on the first musical track, "I'm a African", which begins "I'm a African/Never was a African-American". The same song explains their musical stance as "somewhere between N.W.A and P.E", referring to the two major rivals of late 1980s hip hop, West Coast's hard-edged, violent gangstas, N.W.A., and East Coast's militant activists, Public Enemy.

"They Schools" assaults the dominance of whites in the public education system in the United States, from the accusatory title to the opening, "I went to school with some redneck crackers/right around the time 3rd Bass dropped The Cactus Album", referring to an East Coast duo who were white and middle-class.

"Animal in Man" is a retelling of George Orwell's Animal Farm. "Behind Enemy Lines" is about Black Panther Fred Hampton.

Let's Get Free peaked at #73 and #22 on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts, respectively. "It's Bigger Than Hip Hop" peaked at #43 on the Rap Singles chart.

Track listing

  1. "Wolves" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 2:16
  2. "I'm a African" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 3:19
  3. "They Schools" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 5:06
  4. "Hip-Hop" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 3:33
  5. "Police State" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 3:40
  6. "Behind Enemy Lines" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 3:03
  7. "Assassination" (Alford/Dechalus/Gavin) - 2:01
  8. "Mind Sex" (Alford/Gavin) - 4:51
  9. "We Want Freedom" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 4:33
  10. "Be Healthy" (Alford/Gavin/Mair/Williams) - 2:34
  11. "Discipline" (Alford/Gavin) - 1:37
  12. "Psychology" (Alford/Dechalus/Gavin) - 5:56
  13. "Happiness" (Alford/Askey/Blige/Combs/Dechalus/Gavin/Mayfield/Oliver) - 3:48
  14. "Animal in Man" (Alford/Gavin) - 4:31
  15. "You'll Find a Way" (Alford/Gavin) - 3:13
  16. "It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop" (Alford/Gavin/West) - 3:55
Twenty-six tracks of four seconds of silence each.
  1. "Propaganda" (Alford/Dechalus/Gavin) - 5:14
  2. "The Pistol" performed by Dead Prez / Maintain Of Illegal Tendencies - 4:25