Since his Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy days, Michael Franti has pushed the envelope in terms of how far music could go while still being hip-hop. In the last decade, however, Franti and Spearhead seem to have largely pushed into something entirely different from hip hop, the reggae-pop and hippie-folk populism taking centerstage, even if Franti's vocals still often reveal his rap and spoken word roots. In fact, Franti could very well be the first true post-racial, post-hip hop artist. Songs such as "Say Hey (I Love You)" and this year's "I'm Alive" mark perhaps the first time that the genre has been entirely engulfed in pop music without seeming too corny or exploitative. That is an immense accomplishment.
Thu., Sept. 19, 8 p.m., 2013