The ongoing legacies of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

Originally published at: The ongoing legacies of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy | Boing Boing


I love Franti’s sunny upbeat persona in Spearhead; I had no idea there was an iron fist behind the velvet voice. Extra :heart::heart:


I’ve known Charlie Hunter for years. He first began performing with Franti as a duo—just rapping over Charlie’s percussive guitar grooves, no drums or samples—and it was really cool. I mean, it really stood out as a new kind of sound. They toured as the opening act for Living Colour, IIRC. They did all the songs that appear on the album.

I got the impression that Franti created Disposable Heroes (by bringing in Beatnigs cofounder Rono Tse) because he was inspired by the success Public Enemy, and wanted to “bring the noise.” But I found the resulting album to be less compelling than the more stripped down sound of the duo.

I also have the impression that Franti originally put together Spearhead in 1994 because he was inspired by Arrested Development’s success in 1993.

I have no proof of either inference.


I checked out the Genius entry for “Famous and Dandy (Like Amos and Andy)” a few years back and learned that the lyric, “We taste the double standard / The need to wear the mask” is likely a reference to Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask”. I love this album and was happy to read this article about it.

Happy for Franti’s continued success. I saw him perform a while back and he was like, “How ya feeling?!” and I’m like, “Shitty.” Ain’t gonna lie.

I saw Franti and Spearhead perform in Sydney years ago (probably on the Stay Human tour so, about 2000) and it was easily one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Go see them if you possibly can.

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I didn’t know that Jack Dangers, of Meat Beat Manifesto, mixed the album. MBM was on heavy rotation in my house. I did know that they were an offshoot of the The Beatnigs whose first album was released on Alternative testicles, the Dead Kennedy’s label. The Beatnigs used to play at Gilman Street, Berkeley, CA which links back nicely to a recent movie release.

One of my favorite tracks from the album is The Winter of The Long Hot Summer

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This is funny, as I just stumbled onto a recent-ish Spearhead song in a car commercial and was like “wow, I had no idea Michael Franti could get so mellow”.

I’m sure Jello would be amused, but …


Sigh, misspelled and autocorrected to an embarrassing mistake. Will leave for posterity.


There are a ton of inaccuracies and omissions in this article. Mark Pistel (Consolidated and later Meat Beat Manifesto) was a main arranger, beat programmer, engineer and mixer on “Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury.”

Jack Dangers’ involvement was instigated by Pistel; he certainly didn’t mix the entire album by himself; he co-mixed it with Mark with the exception of the DKs cover, which was mixed Pete Scaturro). Rono Tse (now Ron Lee) had input on the beat programming, but was hardly the only person responsible for it.

Dangers certainly influenced Pistel, who in turn influenced Franti and the Disposable Heroes. At that point, Franti was an excellent lyricist, but he wasn’t a natural rapper. It took a lot of work to get his vocals down in the studio. His flow wasn’t a flow as much as a fit and a start.

That album was a studio achievement as much as it was a lyrical achievement. Franti deserves a lot of credit, but so does Pistel, who was the unsung Disposable Hero. Perhaps the most disposable of all, as he was left out of the Spare Ass Annie project entirely.

It’s not surprising that the Disposable Heroes only had one album in them. Franti’s ego necessitated that he move on and do other things. Those early Spearhead albums were fantastic. This new age yoga version of him we have today is unrecognizable compared to the revolutionary he once was.

But let’s make sure in the future we do some, you know, reporting before we run a story as embarrassingly inaccurate as this one in the future. The sad part is that most of this information can be found on the Wikipedia page about the album.

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