Public Enemy - Rebirth of a Nation
By J. Miller-Dean, Hiphopsite.com
HHS Rating: @@@ of 5
The original revolutionaries of rap are back, and damn, are they pissed! After spending years watching the destructional retardation of rap music and the ditieration of America, Public Enemy is back with their new album, Rebirth Of A Nation. No, this isn't a public service announcement, its just stone cold Guerrilla Funk.
If 2006 is going to be, "The Year of the Come Back Artist," this album is in the lead. It's anything, but boring. Opening like a Box Office blockbuster film, the track, "Raw Shit," yells, "Revolution!" Imagine the president giving a speech on the television. CNN depicts footage of soldiers are fighting and dying in a pointless war. People fight in the street as buildings burn. The bass begins to boom like a herd of elephants. The keyboards quickly follow, echoing in the background; as Chuck raps about not trusting the police, government lies and many of today's rappers talking about nothing. He makes no apology calling it "House Nigga Music." Behind him, the White House goes up in flames. It's a deep track. The best way to describe it would be, the ending scene of Do The Right Thing, when Mookie yelled, "Wake Up!"
With "They call me Flavor," PE probably figured, even the most serious album needs a bit of light heartedness. Flav gets nutty and off the wall repeatedly rapping, "They call me Flavor." By the end of the first chorus you want to rip the CD out of the stereo. Although a bit confusing, it does serve its place on the album. The album has a straight militant motif, of fighting for justice till the bitter end. Flav's track depicts the happiness joy that is desired and sought after. It's like the light at the end of the tunnel. "Plastic Nation," is the story of a girl that was so obsessed with television and pop culture that she had to change her body. She went under the knife and ended up still unsatisfied with herself. The track is laced with women making plastic surgery request about changing their breast size, calves and other features.
As the album goes on, the beats develop. Paris did an excellent job with the production. Well, actually the whole album. He wrote, produced and did everything else under the sun on the entire LP. From the jump, the distorted guitars over heavy bass lines catch the ear. If you listen closely, you will notice that Paris didn't just loop the guitar riffs, but rather composed a song with them. Guitars go from playing riffs during rhymes to soloing during the chorus. There is a certain art to production that he captures on this album. With featured appearances by Dead Prez, the Conscious Daughters and MC Ren, you get the point of view of the young revolutionary mind. The Boondocks, Huey Freeman and conscious individuals would be proud. The only question left is, how would they market it to Riley and the rest of today's wanna be gangsta and "bling-bling" youth?