Bristol Fleece & Firkin

Another victory for the water-sippers.

Drain your champagne glass, Puffy, the party’s over. “All the people who drink water make some noise!” urges [a]Dead Prez[/a]’s Sticman, before ‘Be Healthy’, a number about how great rice is. After gangsta attitude? You’ve come to the wrong place.

If, however, you desire more for your hip-hop dollar than laboured, posturing machismo and wallet-fixated bragging, then acquaint yourself with [a]Dead Prez[/a] immediately. Devotees of the revolution-rap trajectory from Public Enemy and KRS-One through to current luminaries like Mos Def may have already purchased their excellent debut LP, ‘Let’s Get Free’, but live, they operate on a new level entirely.

Assisted supremely by DJ Jamar, songs are generally over and out within two or three minutes; there’s not an ounce of fat here, every space crammed full of Sticman and M-1‘s conscious, rousing lyrics. The music’s fantastic too. ‘(I’m An) African’ bounds along on stunning, metallic noiseclash breaks, while ‘Mind Sex’ and ‘We Want Freedom’ dip into soulful exhortations of liberty.

And just when you’re thinking they’ve only got two gears, they drop the seismic rumble of ‘Hip Hop’, follow it with a brutal cover of KRS-One‘s ‘Black Cop’ and leave with Bristol slain. Another victory for the water-sippers.