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Michael Franti

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Michael Franti (born April 21, 1966, in Oakland, California) is an African, Irish, and German American poet, musician, and composer. Franti is the creator and driving force behind Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, folk, and rock.

Franti was part of the industrial punk band The Beatnigs with DJ Rono Tse, which released a self-titled LP, and an EP Television on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles Records. His next project, The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, found Franti continuing his collaboration with Tse, and working with jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter, and electronic musicians Mark Pistel (Consolidated) and Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto). The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy wrote biting, progressive lyrics that railed against the injustice of the world and yearned for democratic reform, set to a fusion of industrial and hip hop. Their first album won acclaim for its social commentary, and they were chosen by U2 to open for their Zoo TV Tour.

Franti and the Disposable Heroes put together another record of music accompanying novelist William Burroughs’ readings for an album entitled Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales. This album diverged greatly from the style of the band’s previous work, as they were largely providing musical background and accompaniment to Burroughs’ spoken readings from several of his books.

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