60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #28


The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury (1992)

There’s maybe a subliminal reason as to why the debut album by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy features so high on the rundown.

It’s all to do with me really being quite late to hip-hop, as mentioned when previously writing about Beastie Boys.  There are very few albums from the genre that were bought at the time of release, and thus they are, under the self-imposed rules, unable to be considered for inclusion.

Jacques the Kipper opened up one of his 1992 mixtapes with this track:-

mp3:  The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy  – Television, The Drug Of The Nation

He handed it to me at work one day.  I played it on the train journey back from Edinburgh to Glasgow.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I played the opening track on the mixtape and then hit rewind so that I could hear it again.  And then I repeated the manoeuvre a couple more times.

The next day, I bought the album on CD, thus making sure in this instance that I was quick to not miss out on what was surely going to be the next sensation within the hip-hop genre.

The album spent just three weeks in the UK charts.  It’s two accompanying singles initially managed just a combined three weeks in the UK charts, all outside the Top 50, albeit a re-released ‘Television’ later in the year would hit #44, but sadly what would surely have been a dynamic appearance on Top of The Pops never happened.

Of course there are ‘better’ and more important/influential hip-hop albums out there, some of which I did buy at the time – for instance Three Feet High and Rising by De La Soul – that haven’t made the rundown, (and apologies if anyone was waiting to see what number it was going to come in at), but Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury was on very heavy rotation throughout the whole of 1992,  and indeed beyond, and when it found its way onto the shortlist, I just found myself looking back to that time and coming to the realisation that the issues which made Michael Franti so angry and frustrated still haven’t gone away; indeed, on the back of Trump’s four years in power, many of them are in even more evidence today than they were more than three decades ago.

The cherry on top of the cake is their take on the Dead Kennedys classic.  They actually got to perform a version of it on UK television.


9 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #28

  1. Very pleased to see this in the Top 30. I was fortunate enough to see them live in 1993 and it was a standout performance, not least the Dead Kennedys cover. The video for Television was on heavy rotation on one of those low-budget shows that used to populate the wee hours of the ITV network at the time, so I was also in early with the album purchase. Michael Franti’s taken an interesting and at times surprising musical journey since but I come back to this album regularly. Great post, JC.

  2. I remember liking this, but even more his Spearhead output. Chocolate Supa Highway still gets played around here.

  3. Spearhead’s Yell Fire! is a brilliant listen (as are all of the early SH releases).

  4. I remember hearing “Television” with great frequency on the college radio of the time, and with great admiration, but I can’t say that I ever saw the album in a store! The image of the cover was sadly novel to me on this day! Thanks for the reminder that I need to put this on the endless want list.

  5. I’m sure I saw them supporting U2 on Zoo Station tour (with Bjork & Paul Oakenfold – who played Theme for Great Cities). Great pick.

  6. I still have my original vinyl LP (with bonus 12″) of this album. Like a lot of hip-hop of this era, it hasn’t dated terribly well in parts, but it’s a genre that moves on so quickly that’s understandable. Sadly, the topics of many of its songs remain poignant 30 years on.

    Television is actually a sort-of cover of the song originally recorded by the hardcore punk band Beatnigs who featured both Franti and Tse. So does that make it a cover?

  7. I saw the Beatnigs supporting Billy Bragg, banging chains on car bonnets and all that. Very good. DHOH were top of my playlist when this album came out

  8. I saw Disposable Heroes a few times around the release of this album – they were great live – the only band I’ve seen where an angle grinder is used as a musical instrument. Pleased to see it on this list – I haven’t listened to them in years so unlikely that they’d make my top 60!

    My favourite track on the album is Language of Violence – really powerful lyrics.

    And I loved Spearhead too!

  9. I saw that show. U2 gifted me Bjork and Disposable Heroes that day. Two acts I’ve loved ever since. Thanks Bono. They tore it up live too. The gig was free to anyone with a UB40. Times were different then

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