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Public Enemy… what can be said about them that shouldn’t already be known? They’re one of the most influential Hip Hop artists of the 80’s and early 90’s, due in large part to being one of the first Hip Hop groups to really focus on politics, and the plight of African Americans in general. Their lyrics were often controversial, and through it all the group remained unapologetic. If it wasn’t for them there probably wouldn’t be a lot of the politically charged music that exists today, from modern Hip Hop artists to metal bands such as System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine. Public Enemy’s first four albums are all widely regarded as classics, but there has been some discussion about which one is really the defining PE album, in my opinion the answer is easy; Apocalypse 91 is PE’s definitive album.

Another reason that this album is such a classic is due to one of the most capable Hip Hop production teams in the Bomb Squad, and an equally capable DJ in Terminator X. Apocalypse 91 features some of the most dense and innovative music that I’ve ever heard in any genre. The beats are complex by Hip Hop standards, and the music includes a large number of samples, sounds and influences all layered over each other in such a way that even sixteen years later I can still pick up new sounds. The Bomb Squad would take things such as screams (By the Time I Get to Arizona), squealing horns (Can’t Truss It) and things of that nature and loop them in order to make them a main part of the music. This was all done in order to keep the listener from becoming too comfortable or letting the music fade into the background, because Chuck’s message isn’t meant to soothe or be played in the background; it’s supposed to be angry, confrontational, and it’s supposed to be paid attention to and the music ensures that it is.

It’s hard to really point out a track that stands out more than others, but if I had to choose, “Can’t Truss It” is Apocalypse 91’s definitive song.


Public Enemy: “Can’t Truss It”


These guys actually had an album come out this year. Who knew? I definitely never heard anything about it.

Great, groovy song.

this Throwback Thursday is a very cool feature..

great track

fear of a black planet is better though

great track, great write-up/running blog

-this Throwback Thursday is a very cool feature..- Thanks. It was actually a regular thing a few years ago, and all the staff kind of took turns with it. It was a “track of the day” thing and Thursday’s were 'Throwback Thursday'. -fear of a black planet is better though- Yeah. I know a lot of people have that opinion, but I’ve always been more partial to this one. It’s more aggressive and the music is much more dense and dissonant. -great track, great write-up/running blog- Thanks. It doesn’t just have to be my thing, though. Other staff can definitely run with it.

Great write up! I've been a fan of P.E. since my youth, Yo Bum Rush The Show was actually the first CD I ever bought (along with Anthrax' State Of Euphoria) and it didn't lose any impact till now. It even became more relevant to me. I also prefer Fear Of A Black Planet and It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Apocalypse 91 but it's still an amazing record. I also totally agree with The Bomb Squad being masters of their art. They produced some of my most beloved Hip Hop records ever. Although P.E. unfortunately became quite irrelevant these days they deserve all praise for creating some of the most influental and powerful records of their genre.

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