By Tom Whittaker
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No Pipe Dream

This article is over 18 years, 6 months old
Review of 'The Unpeople' by The Unpeople
Issue 276

Music and politics are frequently fused. What is striking about the Unpeople is the sheer extent to which this is the case, their debut album marking a welcome return of agitprop – the open use of music as a medium for agitation and through which to deliver both a complex analysis and inspiring message.

We are presented with a mixture of hard hitting urban hip-hop, of dark tunes and sinister sounds creating a sense of the frustration of seeing lives wasted through poverty and alienation. But there is also the hope of transcending it all as, above all, the album celebrates and encourages the struggles against war and imperialism, basking in the new internationalism so many of us feel.

The rapping is first rate – a series of lyrical masterpieces, biting political analysis combined with humour, empathy and anger fiercely polemical but equally sincere, fast moving and free flowing but under tight control. Overall the success of the Unpeople’s project is that it makes you feel as if listening to tunes about Zionist oppression or globalisation is the most natural thing in the world and that John Pilger is far cooler than Jam Master Jay. This is only possible because the quality of rapping is matched by the sophistication of the music, the tracks ‘Ayopara’ and ‘Pipedreams’ standing out as particularly atmospheric compositions.

If your thoughts and emotions have been at all fused by the ‘war on terror’ you will identify with this album with its brilliant but humble delivery. A weapon of struggle and a great inspiration – credit to the Unpeople for bringing politics to their scene in such a challenging way. This album just cannot fail to get respect – Rage against the Machine meets Roots Manuva meets East London meets John Pilger.

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