Generally, when ASD receives a press release boasting about a show with "arguably the strongest lineup of socially-aware, hardcore hip-hop talent in recent memory," we just shrug it off as pure hyperbole (and yes, to paraphrase Harry Allen, we normally don't believe the hyperbole). But holy fucking guano, Batman! Guerilla Funk's Hard Truth Soldiers Tour --which lands at Mezzanine May 2 with all the force of an anti-pirate sniper shot--can actually make such a claim and come off as credible.
The lineup is ridiculous--it's practically a mini-Rock the Bells, for cryin' out loud: Paris, Talib Kweli, dead prez, Immortal Technique, Kam, Pete Rock, Planet Asia, T-K.A.S.H., the Conscious Daughters, Jasiri X, Nyoil, Uno the Prophet, and DJ True Justice. That's like going to sleep and waking up on the Planet of Politically-Active, Socially-Conscious Hip-Hop.
To put this in perspective, consider the fact that even in the heyday of Afrocentric hip-hop during the late '80s and early '90s, there was never a tour featuring the conscious rappers of that era: Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Poor Righteous Teachers, Ice Cube (circa Amerikkka's Most Wanted), X-Clan, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, YZ, the Coup, Paris, etc. In fact, the closest might have been the time Public Enemy toured with N.W.A., EPMD and Too $hort, which, in retrospect, wasn't that conscious at all.
Even cooler is the fact that the Hard Truth Soldiers Tour is an actual Tour: it starts May 1st (in Arcata, Humboldt Co.) and continues until June 17 (in Reno, NV), hitting major cities all around the country, and even venturing into Canada. This never could have happened during the Bush administration--anyone attempting to pull of such a consciousness-raising feat probably would have been arrested as a domestic terrorist, jailed indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, and waterboarded by Alberto Gonzales until they sounded just like 50 Cent.