Singer, rapper and activist Michael Franti is wrapping up work in support of his Iraq-themed 2006 album "Yell Fire!" and its companion film and book "I Know I'm Not Alone" with an online-only live alb

Singer, rapper and activist Michael Franti is wrapping up work in support of his Iraq-themed 2006 album "Yell Fire!" and its companion film and book "I Know I'm Not Alone" with an online-only live album to be released this week. But the politically charged musician is already looking ahead to his next record, which is slated for a 2008 release.

Franti said he spent three weeks earlier this year recording in Los Angeles with producer Matt Wallace. "I loved his work when Faith No More in the late '80s and early '90s," Franti tells Billboard.com. "We did a bunch of songs with him. Some of it I really dug, and some I felt still needed to develop, so we went down to Jamaica to work with Sly & Robbie (who also appeared on 'Yell Fire'). Now we're gonna get together in the mixing lab and combine the two different elements of roots and dub reggae with the rock stuff."

The record will be more dance-oriented than some of his recent works, Franti says, but will still retain the political elements that fueled "Yell Fire!" "There's always political songs," Franti says, "But there are also one or two love songs, songs about love and struggle. Right now is a time when everybody's looking around and seeing the goddamn world so f*cked up, so they either have to check out or somehow engage in what's happening in the world. These songs are to inspire people to keep the faith and keep working. The world needs good soldiers for peace right now."

Franti said the live record includes a handful of older tracks, but mostly documents the changing nature of the tracks from "Yell Fire!"

"Those songs really changed and developed when we went on tour," he says. "We went through all the recordings and selected what we felt were most indicative of what we've been doing live lately."

The busy Franti also recently completed work on a children's book, "What I Be," which shares a title with one of his songs. "In a funny, odd, sort of backwards way, I kept coming back to everything I learned by the war: How can we raise another generation that can think beyond violence?," he says. "That's why I did a kid's book."

Franti and Spearhead will be on tour in the northeast and south throughout the fall.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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