Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

by Jim Harris Rating:10 Release Date:2014-11-28

Outside, as I sit on my deck, grill about to start burning, I smell something else burning. Ferguson. I’m that close. Thirty-one businesses burned down by rioters and looters, and a church the victim went to is scorched by the KKK (The FBI is investigating, which tells you no one will be caught). 

The unarmed victim, a young black man who just bum-rushed the stage of life to steal a box of cigars, is shot multiple times by a police officer who told the grand jury a Taser is too bulky to carry and black pepper spray (both of which could bring down a grizzly without killing it) is left in his car, so he uses a lethal weapon to finally bring the victim down with a shot to the head. It happens all the time in America, the land of guns and violence. 

Oh, and Public Enemy, the greatest hip-hop band in history, has re-released one of hip-hop's best albums this week, called It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. It is a hard-driving, seminal form of hip-hop that would lead to rap/rock, Rage Against the Machine, and the likes.

The stream of consciousness rap overlaying the intense chugging samples on such songs ‘Rebel Without a Pause’ and ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’, as well as all the others, took hip-hop to another level. Their lyrics were considered incendiary and damaging in inciting racial tensions. Pointing out that John Wayne believed in white supremacy and Elvis was only successful cause he rode on the coat-tails of black artists. How funny. How politically charged. 

Flavor Fav and Chuck D challenged the media and the police and every aspect of the system on those 80s albums without fucking this and that and talking about fucking you every way possible to win your affection or fantasizing in a whiney voice the rape of a fellow female rapper or killing your mother. Public Enemy talked the issues and now hip-hop can’t breathe without sexuality and niggas and fucking everything. 

It’s so fashionable nowadays, though. Every crap rock band today grabs their token rapper to underscore a song or two on their limp albums. Hip-hop is dead. Hip-hop is to music what alliteration is to poetry, but it is as dead as Michael Brown. Long live hip-hop through Public Enemy. 

What has changed since 1987? Well, now it takes a nation of billions to hold us back. And all those upper-middle-class white boys who bought into Public Enemy to play in their Mustangs and pickup trucks back then? They are rallying around the family all right. With a pocket full of sea-shells and Slim Shady and Iggy loaded on their 32gig iPhones, as 21st Century hip-hop is more concerned with ravaging vaginas and mouths with their perceived powerful fists and penises than using their tools to solve the economics of stupid policemen and neighborhoods with 90 per cent unemployment. That’s so yesterday. Ask the parents of Michael Brown.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
Related Articles
Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
Public Enemy - He Got Game
  • 03/31/2011
  • By Bob Coyne