By Mosi Reeves, SF Weekly
Rebirth of a Nation is a return to form for Public Enemy in unexpected ways. It's something of a chop session led by the Bay Area rapper Paris -- whose trademark deep, rippling bass grooves rumble throughout the music, making it as much his album as PE's -- and many of the songs just feature a short appearance from Chuck D., Flavor Flav, and Professor Griff. Several guests join in on the discourse, including the Conscious Daughters (remember "Funky Expedition"?), dead prez, and MC Ren. Their targets range from President George W. Bush ("U.S. government tellin' hella lies/ It's evident when you look in this president's devil eyes," raps Paris on "Can't Hold Us Back") to U.S. soldiers ("These house niggas go fight in Iraq/ Crying to they momma now they wanna come back," Ren claims on "Hard Truth Soldiers"). Even if the Bomb Squad is nowhere to be heard, Rebirth of a Nation still lives up to the PE brand name, thanks to plenty of conspiracy theories, strident media analysis, and, in the words of Chuck D., "the antidote to dope, Interscope, and fake gangsta quotes."