Album Reviews


Public Enemy

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back  Hear it Now

RS: Not Rated Average User Rating: 5of 5 Stars


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Rap didn't come any heavier, harder or angrier in '88 than Public Enemy's second Molotov cocktail of nuclear scratching, gnarly minimalist electronics and revolution rhyme. Where a lot of rap vinyl is still mostly beats and bluster "Nation" features abrupt sequencing and violent sonic compression of rapid-fire samples, slamming-jail-door percussion, DJ Terminator X's tornado turntable work and Chuck D's outraged oratory; listening to it is like having your brain hot-wired into emergency TV broadcasts, with the apocalypse playing on every channel. That Public Enemy can step into your face so fiercely, challenging your courage with its conviction, makes the band's lapses into sexism and advocacy of Black Muslim demagogue Louis Farrakhan all the more troublesome. Chuck D slams a sister for clotting her brain with TV sop in "She Watch Channel Zero?!" only to have comouth Flavor Flav grouse, "Baby, you gotta cut that garbage off, yo, I wanna watch the game." If the revolution is televised, will Public Enemy be glued to Monday Night Football? As for Farrakhan, the band's salutes to him cloud the real issues of strength through pride, of war on apathy, that fuel the PE noise. "Remember," Chuck D says in "Don't Believe the Hype," there's a need to get alarmed." In other words, Human Rights Now! Or else.


(Posted: Dec 15, 1988)


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