It’s been eight years since dead prez delivered their last studio album, the still-celebrated RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta. During that span, there has been inevitable evolution from the duo from personal and musical standpoints, just as the circumstances about which they rhyme haven’t remained identical. Even so, their new album, Information Age, carries on a blueprint first laid by the MCs over a decade ago.
Information Age again channels much of what the two have made their forte, weaving soothing melodies into committed and commanding lyricism. M-1 and stic.man balance assertiveness with intellectual exploration, finding a way to not come across as though they have the answers, but rather that they themselves remain on the search. This delicate approach affords songs and their messages the opportunity to endure, rather than aggressively pushing an agenda.
The album is brief—just 12 tracks and 42 minutes long, and between skits and musical interludes, there’s even less time than that spent on rapping. Even so, the two typically hit their mark, like with “What If The Lights Go Out,” “No Way As The Way,” and “Learning, Growing, Changing,” on which stic, in a brief summation of the explorations of the album, posits, “Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something.”
In concert with the suggestion of the title, the album places a focus on knowledge and the pursuit of it, while also attempting to grapple with the evolution of technology and its effects. Lyrically, the veteran wordsmiths more or less stick within the larger context of this theme, though sometimes, like on “Time Travel,” there’s something left to be desired. Sonically, too, it seems they have considered the ramifications of technological development, as the production here is more electronically-based and widely influenced than in the past.
Touching on concepts ranging from religion to capitalism to liberty, dead prez again prove that they’re some of hip-hop’s most thorough thinkers. Although this won’t go down as the crown jewel of their catalog, Information Age assures that for dead prez, their chemistry and spirits are as apparent as ever, and their presence in hip-hop is welcomed. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)