Listen to this breakdancing, burning cop cars in Jordans and urban camouflage spraying quotes from a Malcom X biography as a clever fucking wigger. In the 80s, rap became a recorded product, as cutups of the whole history of music flashed by with a cornucopia of slang on top.
The Bomb Squad production crew took that game to the next level, and peaked on the third album, Fear Of A Black Planet. Music history was hacked and atmospheric layers of atonal noise pulled from funk classics, quotes from Black Panther speeches, heavy 808 sub-bas kicks, off-center beats, militant drum rolls and horn blasts made a overload of sonic information and builded a monumental soap box for Chuck D to unfold his wordplay, sounding like a triumphant basketball anchorman striving to raise the consciousness of the masses.
As the sugar on the often-bitter pill, Flaver Flav was his crack head clownish antidote. Topics include Hollywood, drugs, police violence and race/class – but in a new humorous funky arty format. The sound was dense and raw, made of samples from scratched 70s vinyl thru 8 bit Emu and 12 bit Akai samplers mixed on a broken analogue Neve mixer by hand, no computer – with absolutely no dead air – making a cinematic experience unmatched even today.
Even stoner Spike Lee used Public Enemy as soundtrack to “Do the right thing”\’b4s final riot scenes. The album is the peak of the sampladelic era, and as the lawyers smelled money and stopped this creative method spurred on by a oversampled James Brown, unwillingly provider clones and spare parts for the hip-hop industry.
It is estimated that today this album would cost Public Enemy double the shelf price pr. album just in sample and publishing clearances. Fear Of A Black Planet was the crossroad where hip-hop turned into adult danceable retro-futuristic avant-garde noise, hail the prophets of rage!
Article by Morten Vammen