This weeks’ playlist, Public Enemy. P.E. was the first group that I was passionate about following. Political, edgy, and uncompromising, they have a cast of talented characters that are still unrivaled in rap music. Chuck D is lead MC, Flavor Flav plays the Joker, and Terminator X drops the beats for one of the most influential acts in the history of hip-hop culture.
- Brothers Gonna Work It Out – They have a knack for starting their albums with a bang. It doesn’t get much more hype than this opener from the classic “Fear of a Black Planet”.
- Shut Em’ Down – Though many prefer the Pete Rock remix, I think this original beat is a more appropriate call to action. P.E.’s take on corporate greed, this song is just as applicable today.
- Sophisticated Bitch – Before 2 Live Crew and NWA, when Chuck D swore, he did so with a voice and an aplomb that got noticed. This early offering from Yo! Bum Rush The Show shows why.
- By the Time I Get to Arizona – This time Chuck pisses on a state that was trying to un-observe Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Can you blame him?
- Security of the First World – Named after the entourage that hung out with the main players onstage while sporting fake uzis and army gear, this Terminator X beat was first sampled by Madonna and then scores of others.
- Can’t Truss It – Unveiled to the public on Saturday Night Live, this one goes all the way back to the slave ships.
- Cold Lampin’ with Flavor – They didn’t turn Flav loose on the mic solo too often, but when they did, gems like this often emerged. The clock-ed one definitely had his own goofy style, which provided a nice break from Chuck’s stoicism.
- Shake Your Booty – Another solo effort from Flavor Flav. Found on the He Got Game soundtrack, this ends up being Public Enemy’s most danceable tune.
- Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos – Horribly covered by Tricky, this urban narrative takes you from conviction to emancipation. With one of X’s best grooves as soundtrack, it’s one hell of a ride.
- Fight The Power – Found in the Spike Lee joint Do The Right Thing, this anthem is chock full of samples and sound bites that provide the energetic backdrop to Chuck’s cutting lyrics.