During college I experimented with leftist politics and hip hop during my Sophomore year in college. For a brief period of time I was a political science major studying middle east politics. This led to many deep conversations with other like minded individuals about the ills of society and how it really is the government's fault (we will ignore for a moment that these talks took place at a state university that provided a low cost alternative education that was essential to my formation of these thoughts). So when the 25TH OF MAY put out what turned out to be their only album "Lenin and McCarthy" needless to say I was drawn in. "White, English boys rapping over pop hooks about the injustices of the poor and disenfranchised! Where do I sign up?"
Okay, so the rapping is a bit hilarious in hindsight. Especially compared to PUBLIC ENEMY, NWA and ICE-T. But the songs had hooks and it was so radically different from what I had been into that it just came along at the right time. It took awhile to track the record down and after much searching I found a used copy at a local record store. Seriously, who would sell this back? More importantly, was I selling out by buying a used copy and not searching for it brand new? The answer of course is no, after all they were on a major label so they had already sold out for me.
I must have played "What's Going On" about 15 times in the first two weeks I had the record. My radio partner at the time got so sick of it that he threatened to sneak into my house and destroy it so he could get some respite. (Scott, I'm sorry, I was blind at the time...) Over time, my politics have mellowed and my music taste has mellowed. I am no longer the leftist hell raiser I was in my youth (paying taxes will do that to you), but listening to the 25th of May again makes me nostalgic for a time when I may have just stood up for something I believed in...even if it was for lower prices at the bookstore.
(ed. note: the pic is actually some of the members of the band in their new band MANBREAK, which was pretty much the same sound only harder rocking. Personally, I preferred the first incarnation of the band to the one in the pic but I couldn't find a photo so this will do.)