Politically charged hip hop legends, Flavour Flav, Chuck D, Terminator X, Professor Griff and Gary G-wiz were cultivated in Long Island, New York, but are now a house hold name across the globe.
A group whose musical style and incendiary delivery have earned them critical acclaim and millions of fans throughout their career, Public Enemy continue to blaze musical and technological trails with the release of their last album Beats And Places. It is a combination of new songs, live performances and several classics.
The group burst onto both the rap and pop music world in 1987 with their first single Public Enemy #1, a startling combination of Chuck D’s commanding orations, Hank Shocklee’s layered cacophony of musical noise, and Flava Flav’s show-stopping antics to keep the message entertaining. A month later, the group released their debut album titled Yo! Bum Rush the Show.
Shortly after, they recorded Rebel Without A Pause which would herald a new era of rap with layers upon layers of samples, sirens and general chaos. The world responded positively and Public Enemy became international stars overnight. The classic It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was released in 1988, and was considered to be one of the most important records ever released, voted as #1 rap album of all time.
Fans and the media began to speculate on whether the creative intensity within the group was breaking it into pieces. To fuel the fire, various members were working on solo records. As an answer to these rumours, the crew released Apocalypse 91 – The Enemy Strikes Black. Rather than ignore the gossip written about the group, they decided to hit the “hype” head on with songs like More News at 11, Shut Em Down and Letter to the New York Post. The album also featured the track By The Time I Get To Arizona, a fiery message aimed at the state’s refusal to honour the new Martin Luther King Jr holiday; Shut Em Down grew out of Chuck D’s anger at having his voice used in a beer commercial, and chronicled the way he saw black neighbourhoods being exploited by big corporations who put little back.
While on tour, the group recorded their fifth album Greatest Misses. Comprised of six new songs and six remixes of PE classics, the album was meant to be a gift for fans until a full-length album could be recorded. Greatest Misses was accompanied by the release of their third Gold-selling home video The Enemy Strikes Live, a recording of a free show they did at the famous Apollo Theatre.
The next studio album was Muse-Sick-N-Hour-Mess-Age. Producing a sound that Chuck D described as ‘ferocious soul’ using live instruments, bigger noise and all sorts of chaos, the album was considered to be a radical departure from their previous albums. After at first catching their fans by surprise, it is now considered by their fans to be one of their best works.
As well as being a remarkable album in its own right, Revolverlution is also the first instalment of a trilogy of albums with Chuck D in fact calling it “a trilogy within a trilogy.” The new songs on it redefine the PE sound, bringing them up to and beyond the new era of rap. Revolverlution pulls rap music into the future, all while keeping its musical roots firmly intact. A song like Give The Peeps What They Need is a prime example of how independence can benefit artists, bringing Public Enemy and Paris together on the remix and with the production by DJ Johnny Juice.
Their latest album Beats And Places has pushed boundaries with its incredible sound, lyrical creativity and exceptional performance by the crew. Make sure you hear it out!