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PUBLIC ENEMY

Public Enemy

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down

    Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap group of the late '80s and, for many, the definitive rap group of all time. Building from Run-D.M.C.'s street-oriented beats and Boogie Down Productions' proto-gangsta rhyming, Public Enemy pioneered a variation of hardcore rap that was musically and politically revolutionary. With his powerful, authoritative baritone, lead rapper Chuck D rhymed about all kinds of social problems, particularly those plaguing the black community, often condoning revolutionary tactics and social activism. In the process, he directed hip-hop toward an explicitly self-aware, pro-black consciousness that became the culture's signature throughout the next decade. While Public Enemy's early Def Jam albums, produced with the Bomb Squad, earned them a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they continued to release relevant material up to and beyond their 2013 induction. Now, Public Enemy is back, and is ready to tell the world to once again FIGHT THE POWER!

    Public Enemy

    It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back - Back To Black Edition

    'Yo! Bum Rush The Show' was an invigorating record, but it looks like child's play compared to its monumental sequel, 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back', a record that rewrote the rules of what hip-hop could do. That's not to say the album is without precedent, since what's particularly ingenious about the album is how it reconfigures things that came before into a startling, fresh, modern sound. Public Enemy used the template Run DMC created of a rap crew as a rock band, then brought in elements of free jazz, hard funk, even musique concrète, via their producing team, the Bomb Squad, creating a dense, ferocious sound unlike anything that came before. This coincided with a breakthrough in Chuck D's writing, both in his themes and lyrics. It's not that Chuck D was smarter or more ambitious than his contemporaries - certainly, KRS-One tackled many similar sociopolitical tracts, while Rakim had a greater flow - but he marshaled considerable revolutionary force, clear vision, and a boundless vocabulary to create galvanizing, logical arguments that were undeniable in their strength. They only gained strength from Flavor Flav's frenzied jokes, which provided a needed contrast. What's amazing is how the words and music become intertwined, gaining strength from each other. Though this music is certainly a representation of its time, it hasn't dated at all. It set a standard that few could touch then, and even fewer have attempted to meet since.


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