May 2, 1990 |
Rap superstars Public Enemy will perform in Philadelphia this Sunday at Studio West, 59th and Market streets, show co-promoter (and former WDAS-FM disc jockey) Bilaaly Bee said yesterday. The rap group had planned to appear here several weeks ago as a benefit for Kyle Sampson, a fellow Muslim and Democratic candidate for the 188th District seat in the state House. But because of the group's controversial image, "Lincoln University reneged on a verbal agreement to house the show, then two big clubs in the area refused to let us hold the show, with one saying they just don't like the group's lyrics," Sampson said.
May 8, 1998 |
While the soundtrack for "He Got Game" is the music for the Spike Lee film of the same name, it's also the first Public Enemy disc in four years. And with the original lineup intact, including once-deposed member Professor Griff and the Bomb Squad production team that created several classic P.E. albums, it presented an intriguing challenge. The once-mighty P.E. would have to create songs that made sense for the film and do so under the weight of heavy expectations. With seminal '80s rap releases like "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" and "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy was in the unenviable position of having to compete against their previous works in a rap market that has changed dramatically since their heyday.
October 1, 1991 |
Chuck D., Public Enemy's primary rapper and one of the most strident voices in pop music, delivers his missives with the controlled fury of a martial-arts master. His thick bullhorn of a voice expresses disdain and dissatisfaction in tones that are deceptively conversational. He can summon rage in the blink of an eye, provoke his audience without becoming even mildly aggravated. His scowling impatience with the status quo makes every phrase an urgent communication. And like any fighter, Chuck D. is most effective when he has a clear opponent.
July 19, 1989 |
If Public Enemy has indeed disbanded in light of the controversy over group member Professor Griff's anti-Semitic remarks, an apt summary of their work is provided by "Fight the Power Live," their first home-video release (CMV Enterprises, $19.95). Fifty-five crazed minutes of concert footage, music videos and Flavor Flav antics, the video is as purposefully controversial as the group itself. Public Enemy often seemed less a band than an agenda, and the emphasis here is as much on sermonizing as on the music.
June 8, 2009 |
They may be New Yorkers for five nights a week, but the Roots still know how to make their hometown feel loved. Saturday's Roots Picnic at Festival Pier was a sprawling, sweaty thank-you gift to the city they call Illadelph. The Roots themselves opened the all-day affair with a short set before ceding the stage to a wide swath of friends and fellow travelers, including Public Enemy, TV on the Radio, Asher Roth, and Santigold, not to mention New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg and Jordan Knight, who stopped by on their way to a show in Camden.
June 27, 1989 |
The popular rap group Public Enemy is apparently breaking up. On MTV's Week in Rock news program this weekend, leader Chuck D. said he was calling a halt to the group due to pressure that came from his record company, CBS Records, and his management, Rush Productions. He said he'd been called on to dismiss Public Enemy's "Minister of Information," Professor Griff, for a series of anti-Semitic statements made in recent interviews. "The group is over," Chuck D. told MTV's Kurt Loder, intimating that he would have rather handled the situation internally.
May 1, 1990 |
With 1 million copies of its "Fear of a Black Planet" album having been shipped in recent weeks, Public Enemy has settled down to prepare for a tour starting in July. With PE, though, things are never as calm as they seem. Harry Allen, PE "director of enemy relations," has sent copies to journalists of "The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation. " This 1970 paper by psychologist Frances Cress Welsing argues that white racism and its evil effects are rooted in whites' sense of inferiority over their lack of color and subsequent attempts to compensate by degrading those who have it. The writings of Welsing and Neely Fuller Jr., who argues that white racism is a worldwide system, "should be seen as some of the inspiration for 'Fear of a Black Planet,' " Allen says.
August 10, 1989 |
Somehow we were just waiting for this one. In the Good-Gigs-Are-Hard-to- Come-By-So-Why-Should-We-Kiss-Off-Ours world of popular music, members of the recently disbanded rap group Public Enemy announced yesterday that they'd reunite and were planning a new album before the end of the year. "After having taken time out for reorganization, Public Enemy is back in action," began an eight-paragraph, state-of-the-band statement from leader Chuck D. "The show must go on. Brace yourselves for 1990.
August 21, 1994 |
Rap is in trouble. In just a few years, it's gone from being "the black CNN," as Public Enemy's Chuck D. once called it, to being the Cartoon Channel, full of brutish gangsta poseurs and dim bulbs who cling to their old-school musical tricks like a security blanket. After all, how many ways are there to combine "bitch," "hoe" and "Uzi" into insightful poetry? In rides Public Enemy to save the day. The Long Island rap collective, dormant for three years, has always required an adversary, and there's none better right now than rap itself.
April 10, 1990 |
Yes, there are explicit lyrics on Fear of a Black Planet, the Public Enemy album out today on Def Jam/Columbia. But they're not in the service of off- color boasting, like much of what you've come to expect in rap. Using samples of speeches, the chorus from Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and a dub-reggae vocal hook, "Revolutionary Generation" rails against the treatment of black women in America. "They disrespected mama and treated her like dirt," PE's primary rapper, Chuck D., sings in a displeased growl.