The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
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|The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy|
Michael Franti and Rono Tse
|Origin||Bay Area, San Francisco, United States|
|Labels||4th & B'way, Island|
|Past members||Michael Franti
The band was formed in 1990 by Michael Franti (vocals, production, misc. instruments) and Rono Tse (drums, percussion, programming), who had been in the Beatnigs. The band's name was derived in part from the phrase "The Disposable Heroes of Hypocrisy", used in some Socialist literature.
The group was associated with contemporary bands by genre, including House of Pain and Pop Will Eat Itself. They also were somewhat reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron due to the half-spoken vocal styles of Franti and the up-front political messages in the music. The Disposable Heroes played many concerts, sometimes opening the bill for more well-known acts such as U2 (on their landmark Zoo TV Tour), Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and Arrested Development. Guitarist Charlie Hunter made his recording debut with the Disposable Heroes before earning fame in jazz.
Their debut album, Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, received critical and underground acclaim upon its release in 1992, but was never commercially successful. Franti's lyrics address a wide range of social issues, from Mass Media bias and abuse ("Television, the Drug of the Nation") to racial equality ("Socio-Genetic Experiment", in large part inspired by Franti's childhood as a biracial child adopted by a white family), and Homophobia (in "Language of Violence"). The album also included a cover of the Dead Kennedys track "California Über Alles" (with updated lyrics about Governor Pete Wilson). "Television," which received wide airplay on college and alternative radio stations, had previously been recorded by Michael Franti's first band, The Beatnigs. In common with other bands of the time on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy used sampling and scratching as a primary tool of music recording, and mixed rock, hip hop and jazz. The album was listed in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".
Among their contemporaries, the band had strong artistic, political, and personal ties to both Meat Beat Manifesto and Consolidated. The recording of Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury was co-produced by Consolidated's Mark Pistel, and prolific Meat Beat Manifesto frontman Jack Dangers assisted with mixing.
In 1993 the duo worked with William S. Burroughs, recording music for a collaborative 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. The Disposable Heroes split up shortly after. Michael Franti formed Spearhead, who (to date) have released seven albums, while Tse worked with the Mystik Journeymen.