Michael Franti

Franti

Michael Franti, rapper, musician, poet, and singer-songwriter is the creator and lead vocalist for the band Michael Franti & Spearhead.  A band that blends hip hop with a variety of styles that include funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock.  His work is politically charged and he is a very outspoken supporter of peace and social justice issues.  Born in Oakland, California he began his musical career as part of the industrial punk/spoken word band The Beatnigs.  He attended the University of San Francisco and developed his fascination with music there and started his first band.  His next project found him continuing his collaboration with former band mate Tse, on The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.  Along with musicians Mark Pistel and Jack Dangers they wrote politically charged lyrics that railed against the injustices of the world.  In 1994 Michael formed the current band Michael Franti & Spearhead and announced the dissolution of Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.  Their first release found them doing more funk and soul music their first album, Home, was produced by Franti and Joe Nicolo.   Later he created his own label Boo Boo Wax in calibration with indie music label Six Degrees Records they released Stay Human.  This album’s theme was about the unjust nature of the death penalty and other major themes including mass media monopolization, the prison-industrial complex and corporate globalization.  In an interview, Franti talked about the message of Stay Human: “Half of the record is songs about what’s happening in the world right now, and the other half is about how we cope with it as a people who are concerned about what‘s going on”, he said.  Franti left Six Degrees due to differences with the label’s founder Pat Berry.  Going on in 2003 to release a mostly acoustic album, Songs from the Front Porch, he has sense been gaining worldwide audiences through touring and word of mouth fan support and appearing in alternative media such as Mother Jones magazine and Democracy Now! Franti to this day continues to tour in addition to producing the annual Power to the Peaceful festival which supports Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is considered by some of the left to be a political prisoner.  This artist is a delight to hear and a constant reminder to all to be open minded and watchful of the world around us.  

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