Dead Prez is a political hip hop duo from the United States, composed of stic.man and M-1, and formed in 1996. They are known for their confrontational style, combined with militant socialist and pan-Africanist lyrics. These lyrics tend to focus on social justice, critical pedagogy, activism against political repression, and corporate control over the media, especially hip-hop record labels. Dead Prez made their stance clear on their first album, declaring on the lead song, "I'm a African" that the group is "somewhere between N.W.A. and P.E.."
In 1990, M-1 headed to Tallahassee to attend FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) where he and stic.man met and connected due to their mutual love of music and similar political ideology. There, their views solidified, M-1 becoming particularly interested in the Black Panther Party.
M-1 joined the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement in Chicago for three years while stic.man remained behind in Florida and started getting into trouble. Burned out by the arduous labor of Uhuru, M-1 decided it was time to focus on music and stic.man agreed.
Dead Prez transcribed the political education they acquired into lyrical poetry. Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar discovered them in New York and helped them sign a deal with Loud Records, but being new on a famous label like Loud (home to the Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep) was not easy. Although Dead Prez was not always Loud's top priority, they built a fan base thanks to their over-the-top performances (they've been known to ignite dollar bills and toss apples into the audiences, declaring that they must eat healthily). They also made an early appearance on Big Pun's Capital Punishment in 1998.