Public Enemy - Rebirth of a Nation
By Darryl Gudmundson, HipHopDX.com
What began as a thinly veiled reference to the Public Enemy revolutionary classic, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, ends with an experiment for the group as a whole to become a collective mindset once again or a tempered example of what may be on the minds of many American's today. After Chuck D had publicly denounced Flavor Flav for his continued involvement with the reality-television world, the usual writer of the groups' political-minded lyrics announced Bay Area producer/MC Paris, a fellow artist/activist would write and produce many songs on the album.
This stood as a foray into the unknown for Chuck D, but gave a new twist on a familiar sound, especially with current topics so heavy on the minds of Chuck D and Paris who had respectively outed President Bush before. Rebirth of a Nation is a much-needed message, which is, as always well delivered by a time tested group who started their career in the early 80s during a much darker social and political period.
The artist most accountable for the political-mindedness of N.W.A, with a deft delivery, Chuck D is responsible for the KRS's and the Boots Riley's of today. The definition of a hype man as portrayed by America's new favored son, Flava Flav, whose own name rings out like a calling card on a slew of Celeb-reality reality-television on VH1. The group itself has been somewhat in disarray since Flav's courting of the "acting" realm on Strange Love and Flavor of Love, which Chuck D grew tired of early on. The legendary rapper instead decided to enlist the talents of Bay Area artist Paris. An experiment the rapper said he had been looking to try for a long time.
If 98% of the material was done by Paris, including lyrics and production, what if any true Public Enemy spirit resides behind these words. Chuck D has repeatedly said the album cannot be considered along with other Public Enemy projects as it is a "special project" unto itself. The initial attempt on a collaboration between the group and Paris dates back to the Revolverlution album, but this most recent effort comes from Paris' own Guerilla Funk label. The album, which does feature a slew of talented artists like Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Conscious Daughters, MC Ren, Sista Souljah, and Kam, doesn't sound forced. If anything Chuck D and Flav's familiar voices are a much-needed reminder of what "conscious hip-hop" once stood for. This most recent attempt seems like an honest one. A fresh take on a war-torn, politically saturated and agitated country with a fresh start for Professor Grif, Flavor Flav, Chuck D, and newly deputized member Paris. Songs of protest and songs of change attest to the constant that is the group's message from the beginning, "Fight The Power/Fight the Powers That Be."