Stand up comic Bill Hicks' death from cancer in 1994 abruptly curtailed a fast, upwardly moving career. This longtime resident of Austin, Tex. was a scathingly funny interpreter of America's (and the world at large) social failures and hypocrisies. Armed with a wicked sense of self-deprecation, his raps on growing up were very funny and often moving. During a routine, Hicks would grow more and more worked up about social injustice. Working himself into a lather, a palpable paranoia about the U.S. government that started off as a tangent could grow into a wildly spiraling improvisational tour de force. Hicks' records preserve his routines fairly intact, but have some annoying New Age incidental music that serves as little more than a distraction.