Michael Franti and Spearhead
Boo Boo Wax/Capitol
Grizzled fans of Michael Franti's formative punk rap (the Beatnigs, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) may flinch to hear him rhyme "Like Jay Z, Beyoncé/Come be my fiancée" amid Flo Rida-style whistling on "I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like)." But Franti's peace 'n' love MO has veered toward full-on jam pop for several years now, so mainstream-y anthems like the Euro-disco title track are really no big leap. Well-crafted, unfailingly likable, the music hints at his activist-sage roots; check out the apocalypse-minded, Matrix-produced rap-along "11:59." For those who plan to go down dancing, he's a solid man to have on the mic.