Public Enemy - Power to the People and The Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits.
Public Enemy were the most revolutionary hip hop band ever. They were also the most rock'n'roll one.
The lyrics are astounding - intelligent, confrontational, impassioned, telling it like it is. There's rarely been such a coherent and heartfelt railing against the way things are, against poverty, against racism, against injustice. In Chuck D, Public Enemy had a writer of outstanding moral and intellectual quality.
But the music is also ground breaking, crammed with unexpected timbres, textures, samples and both melodic and lyrical catch phrases These were welded together by the aggressive production techniques of The Bomb Squad - the more you listen, the more you discover. And this all serves to complement the message, delivered in the unique rich rap of Chuck D and his foil, Flavor Flav with his poppier nagging hooks. Together these elements made a sound that would inspire a generation, and continues to inspire today, showing that 'black music' could move a white rock audience and that art can indeed influence the real world. The sleeve notes by Harry Allen talk of how many people's lives were changed forever by this band, both in terms of how they see the world and what they do in it.
And then there's the musical influence. Without Public Enemy, where would Eminem, 2Pac, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Puff Daddy, The Chemical Brothers or indeed Manic Street Prachers be?
But despite their influence over the past decade, the tracks on this album still sound unlike anything else around. I defy you to listen to 'Rebel Without A Pause', 'Don't Believe The Hype', 'Fight The Power', or 'Shut It Down' without being overawed by its power, engaged by its beat and enraged by the injustice it talks of.
This is a great tribute to a truly great band. Buy it now, £8.99 at Amazon! An even better tribute would be, of course, to continue to fight the power yourself and so help end the corruption and injustices Chuck D and the boys railed and rapped against with unique intelligence, eloquence and power.
Buy this CD for £8.99 from Amazon here
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