“You have just entered the domain of intergalactic worldwide funk,” boasts the spoken-word intro to Chocolate Supa Highway, “comin’ at ya from the dark side of the moon.”
P-Funk name-checking may be fairly ubiquitous these days, but Spearhead’s earned the right. Michael Franti is behind the wheel of the first funk band in years that one could dare call a Mothership, with a smart, organic hip-hop sound serving rhymes as literate as those he dropped in the Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy.
Injustice simply outrages him, and he wants you to know it. “Food For The Masses” considers the plight of Geronimo Pratt, who’s “done as many years as they done Mandela” for a crime he didn’t commit, “Ganja Babe” seeks escape in the much-maligned herb with Stephen Marley adding his distinctive vocals, and “U Can’t Sing R Song” is a silk-smooth homage to Curtis Mayfield, with Franti displaying a previously underused taste for sweet melody.
You don’t have to like hip-hop to appreciate the strength of Spearhead’s convictions and their passion for flat-out brilliant music. The original Mothership would be proud to claim Spearhead as their offspring, but truly, this band should be embraced by the whole of humanity, whom they continue to represent with true grace and integrity.