In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album an "A–" and said that, although some of the ideas and metaphors are unconvincing, Michael Franti's "intellectual grasp thrusts him immediately into pop's front rank". He also praised DJ Rono Tse as "a one-man hip hop band" who, with the help of percussionist Mark Pistel, "creates more music than he samples, stretching Bomb Squad parameters to carry the tracks whenever Franti falters."Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury finished number 19 in The Village Voice 's Pazz & Jop critics' poll. Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it number 14 in his own list.
In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Ned Raggett gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and said that the group "tackled every last big issue possible with one of 1992's most underrated efforts." He felt that, while its mix of "Bomb Squad and industrial music approaches" make it an appealing album, Franti's thematic breadth and "rich voice" are highlights.