Spearhead Tackles 'Human' Concept
Musician/poet/activist Michael Franti (Beatnigs, Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy) has revived his '90s group Spearhead. The soul/funk/hip-hop group will release "Stay Human" -- its first album in fourMusician/poet/activist Michael Franti (Beatnigs, Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy) has revived his '90s group Spearhead. The soul/funk/hip-hop group will release "Stay Human" -- its first album in four years -- May 15 on the Six Degrees label.
The 13-track "Stay Human" is a concept album revolving around a fictitious community radio station's coverage of the impending execution of a black activist accused of murder. Influenced by the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder, the group runs the musical gamut, from ballads to hardcore hip-hop, as the set delves through the serious issues that surround the concept.
"I have been doing a lot of work against the death penalty. I wanted the album to be about that, but I didn't want to write 13 songs about people in prison," Franti says. "So I wrote the story to go around it."
The group has been previewing the new material during a handful of live dates. While a full tour in support of "Stay Human" is in the offing, the only confirmed date is a June 2 appearance at the Netherlands' Pinkpop festival.
Spearhead's 1994 debut, "Home" (Capitol), spawned the single "Hole In The Bucket," and peaked at No. 21 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The 1997 follow-up, "Chocolate Supa Highway," debuted at No. 25 on that tally, and placed three singles -- "Keep Me Lifted," "U Can't Sing R Song," and "Why Oh Why" -- on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.