Public Enemy’s representing (with Chuck D’s interview)

Public Enemy’s representing (with Chuck D’s interview)

The legacy of Public Enemy is most certainly unmatched by any other rap group or individual artist. With the exception of the Zulu Nation movement, no other Hip Hop collective represented the people and their struggles like this. Then again, the Zulu Nation is not a music band. PE has carried its messages through, despite critique from various government agencies and a wide overall disapproval from many prominent figures in this country. Then again, that wasn’t its audience. The common folk in this country were the spectators of Chuck D’s, Flavor Flav’s, Professor Griff’s, Terminator X’s and DJ Lord’s mastery. The oppressed, the underprivileged, the poor and hungry people in this country and all over the world felt like the Enemy’s music spoke to them. At first their audience was predominantly African-American. Nowadays most of their shows have nothing but white kids packed in the front rows.

Their music is universal, their messages are eternal and their determination is ever-lasting. Their goal has always been bringing controversy to life through use of their music. It would be nearly impossible to go over all of PE’s ideas, overall significance and lasting impact. Most of the readers who would care to get to the second paragraph of this review are more than familiar with the subject matter. Still, it would be impossible not to mention the magnitude of songs like Fight the Power, 911 is a Joke, Don’t Believe the Hype, Public Enemy #1 and many more. Every one of these songs carries a powerful meaning in its title, its words and its delivery even today. Are Public Enemy anarchists? So was Jesus perhaps. Fighting to protect the rights of the oppressed in their own ways, all messengers share much in common. No other music institution has ever represented the people like Public Enemy.

Not all of their messages were positive, of course. Professor Griff has made anti-Semitic remarks in his attempts to separate the Jewish and African-American troubles. One of the most respected non-profit organizations in the world, the Anti-Defamation League, even condemned the PE after its song, titled Swindler’s Lust. Sister Souljah’s comments were labeled as racist by President Clinton in ’92. A lot of the more aggressive messages of the Nation of Islam were frequently found in PE’s lyrics and did not exactly portray themselves with the themes of peace and solidarity. Then again, fighting the injustice is not an easy path. Words are misconstrued, ideas are misunderstood and at times simply frustrations take over.

For those still wondering if Public Enemy is anti-Semitic, note that the writer of this piece and the person who interviewed Chuck D for WNT is Jewish himself. Chuck and the rest of the band were nothing but super nice and friendly throughout all of our communications.

As far as the pure musical influence, PE’s songs have been sampled by an unusually wide array of artists across various music genres. From EMPD and LL Cool J to Sinead O’Connor and Peter Gabriel, PE’s sounds were heard through remixes and various collaborations. They even performed with Anthrax, a heavy metal group, in 1991.

Always pushing the boundaries of its endeavors, Public Enemy was the first rap group to do world tours. Recording their songs in MP3 format back when the term seemed straight out of a foreign language, they placed their technology strides on the front lines as well.

Nowadays, Chuck D’s focus has not changed but expanded and adjusted considerably. Working on Slam Jamz ( ), his recording company, he already got several acts with it and is continuing to push the limits of his abilities. Developing a more executive and mentorship approach, his messages and approach remain the same. MP3 technology is the technology key to Slam Jamz and Chuck D is the ideological essence of it.

Performing close to 60 tours, PE does not stop. Their latest US tour brought them to their home town of New York at the legendary BB King’s. Performing with the developing acts of SlamJamz they also got help from X-Clan. Legendary Brother J and his crew just put out their new album Return From Mecca. You can read more about it here: X-Clan is back with their Return From Mecca. Gathering a slew of other renowned Hip Hop legends to PE’s shows is a regular the show their support.

Public Enemy is long past the point of being a rap or even a music group. They were, are and always will be a symbol of the people. Lucky for all, they see no end in sight for their music.

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