Public Enemy - Rebirth of a Nation

By Chloe Sasson, Syndey Morning Herald

In 1988, Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (with production from the Bomb Squad) created a revolution by stirring the masses and bringing hip-hop into the musical mainstream. Frontman Chuck D became a de facto leader of the struggle, urging Fight the Power and declaring Burn Hollywood Burn.

The group had a similar effect on the mainstream as the arrival of punk, with aggressive lyrics and powerful beats offset with sirens and thundering bass.

Their message is still relevant today, but Public Enemy's sound no longer incites revolution.

Exhibiting a creative drive beyond many of their hip-hop contemporaries, whose careers tend to be short, the group has successfully re-invented itself. They have collaborated with the similarly politically charged Paris (of Bush Killa fame), who takes over on both productions and, more interestingly, given Chuck D's status, lyric-writing duties. It's distinctly Public Enemy, with Chuck's signature gruff delivery, but Paris's powerful rock-infused production - old-school funky basslines and peppering of political samples - raises this album above their recent but underwhelming New Whirl Odor.

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