Table of Contents
- 1. Fight The Power (1989)
- 2. Rebel Without A Pause (1987)
- 3. Public Enemy No.1 (1987)
- 4. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (1998)
- 5. Burn Hollywood Burn (1990)
- 6. Shut Em Down (1991)
- 7. Don’t Believe The Hype (1988)
- 8. Can’t Truss It (1991)
- 9. Welcome To The Terrordome (1990)
- 10. Bring The Noise (1987)
- 11. You’re Gonna Get Yours (1987)
- 12. By The Time I Get To Arizona (1991)
- 13. Prophets Of Rage (1988)
- 14. Brothers Gonna Work It Out (1990)
- 15. Night Of The Living Baseheads (1988)
- 16. Hazy Shade of Criminal (1992)
- 17. Louder Than a Bomb
- 18. Cold Lampin’ With Flavor
- 19. Nighttrain
- 20. He Got Game (1998)
Public Enemy is an iconic American hip-hop group that emerged in the late 1980s and quickly became one of the most influential and politically charged acts of their time. Known for their powerful lyrics, inventive sampling, and unique production style, Public Enemy brought a new level of consciousness and activism to the rap genre.
Formed in 1985 in Long Island, New York, Public Enemy was initially composed of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, and Professor Griff. The group’s early music reflected their political views and explored issues such as racism, poverty, and police brutality. They quickly gained a loyal following, particularly among African American youth, who saw Public Enemy as a voice for their frustrations and aspirations.
Public Enemy’s music was not just about entertainment; it was a call to action. Their politically charged lyrics, combined with their aggressive delivery and innovative use of samples, made them stand out in the crowded hip-hop scene of the late 1980s. Their 1988 album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the genre, and was listed in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest albums of all time.
Throughout their career, Public Enemy has continued to be a voice for the oppressed and marginalized, using their platform to address social issues and speak truth to power. They remain an influential force in hip-hop and beyond, inspiring generations of artists to use their art as a means of social and political commentary.
1. Fight The Power (1989)
“Fight the Power” is a classic song that embodies the spirit of resistance and defiance against oppression. Originally released by the group Public Enemy in 1989, the song became a powerful anthem for social justice movements, particularly those led by Black Americans.
With its explosive beats, relentless rhythm, and politically charged lyrics, “Fight the Power” is a call to action that encourages listeners to resist authority and demand change. The song’s lyrics condemn systemic racism, police brutality, and other forms of injustice, and urge people to unite and fight back against these oppressive forces.
“Fight the Power” also became an iconic piece of pop culture thanks to its inclusion in Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing”. The song’s use in the film’s opening credits, coupled with the powerful imagery of a fist raised in defiance, made it an instant classic and cemented its status as a symbol of protest.
Decades later, “Fight the Power” continues to inspire and empower people who are fighting for social justice and equality. Its message remains as relevant and urgent as ever, and its legacy as an anthem of resistance is sure to endure for years to come.
2. Rebel Without A Pause (1987)
“Rebel Without a Pause” is a groundbreaking hip-hop track released by the legendary rap group Public Enemy in 1987. The song’s title is a nod to the classic film “Rebel Without a Cause”, but the lyrics are all about the group’s uncompromising political stance and their unrelenting commitment to speaking truth to power.
Featuring the group’s trademark hard-hitting beats, “Rebel Without a Pause” is a manifesto of resistance that challenges listeners to question the status quo and fight for what they believe in. The song’s powerful lyrics condemn systemic oppression, police brutality, and racism, and call on people to rise up and demand change.
But what really sets “Rebel Without a Pause” apart is the way it incorporates elements of classic funk and soul music, creating a powerful and infectious groove that gets audiences up and moving. The song’s innovative use of sampling, including a prominent horn riff from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”, helped to redefine the sound of hip-hop and cement Public Enemy’s place as one of the most innovative and influential rap groups of all time.
Decades later, “Rebel Without a Pause” remains a powerful and inspiring anthem for anyone who is fighting for justice and equality. Its message of resistance and defiance continues to resonate with people around the world, making it an enduring classic of hip-hop culture.
3. Public Enemy No.1 (1987)
“Public Enemy No.1” is a song that was originally released by American heavy metal band Megadeth in 1991. The track is a fast-paced, high-energy thrasher that showcases the band’s trademark style of complex guitar riffs, pounding drums, and aggressive vocals. The lyrics of the song describe the experience of being hunted down by the authorities and branded as a public enemy, a theme that has become a recurring motif in heavy metal music.
The opening riff of the song is instantly recognizable and sets the tone for the rest of the track, which is characterized by its fast tempo and driving rhythm. The guitar solos in the song are particularly impressive, showcasing the technical skill of lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. The lyrics are delivered with intensity and conviction, emphasizing the sense of urgency and danger that the protagonist is facing.
“Public Enemy No.1” has become a staple of Megadeth’s live performances and remains a fan favorite to this day. The song’s popularity is a testament to the enduring appeal of heavy metal music and the enduring legacy of Megadeth as one of the genre’s most influential and enduring bands.
4. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (1998)
“Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” is a song by American hip-hop group Public Enemy, released in 1988 as part of their seminal album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”. The track features a sample from the 1970 song “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” by funk band Mandrill, which gives the song its distinctive sound.
The lyrics of the song are politically charged and focus on the experiences of a black man who has been drafted into the military and is now imprisoned for refusing to follow orders. The song’s protagonist is depicted as a rebellious figure who refuses to be silenced or broken by the system, and instead seeks to use his voice to speak out against injustice.
The song’s instrumentation features a heavy drumbeat and a driving bassline, which provide a powerful backdrop for the urgent and forceful lyrics. The sample from Mandrill’s song is used to great effect, adding a sense of menace and urgency to the track.
“Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” has become one of Public Enemy’s most iconic songs and remains a powerful statement on the struggles of black Americans in the face of systemic racism and oppression. The song’s message of resistance and empowerment continues to resonate with listeners today, making it a timeless classic of hip-hop music.
5. Burn Hollywood Burn (1990)
“Burn Hollywood Burn” is a powerful and politically charged song that addresses issues of racism and stereotyping in the entertainment industry. Originally released in 1989 by the rap group Public Enemy, the song features guest appearances from rappers Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane.
The song’s lyrics take aim at the way Hollywood has historically portrayed black people in films and television shows, often pigeonholing them into narrow and harmful stereotypes. The title itself is a call to action, urging listeners to reject these harmful depictions and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable entertainment industry.
The song is characterized by its fast-paced beat, punctuated by powerful and provocative lyrics. It features samples from classic films like The Godfather and The Wizard of Oz, underscoring the idea that Hollywood has long perpetuated harmful stereotypes about people of color.
“Burn Hollywood Burn” was widely praised for its bold and unflinching message, and it remains a touchstone of socially conscious hip-hop music. Its impact can still be felt today, as artists continue to use their platform to call attention to the ways in which systemic racism continues to shape our society.
6. Shut Em Down (1991)
“Shut Em Down” is a powerful and energetic song that delivers a bold and defiant message. The track features a driving beat, heavy bassline, and explosive guitar riffs that create a sense of urgency and intensity. The lyrics are filled with assertive and confrontational language, urging the listener to take action and stand up against those who seek to oppress and control.
The vocals are delivered with raw passion and emotion, reflecting the anger and frustration that many people feel in the face of injustice and inequality. The chorus is particularly memorable, with a catchy hook that encourages the listener to join in and shout along.
Despite its aggressive tone, “Shut Em Down” is ultimately a song of empowerment and resistance. It encourages listeners to take control of their lives and refuse to be silenced by those in power. With its memorable lyrics and powerful instrumentation, this track is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who hears it.
7. Don’t Believe The Hype (1988)
“Don’t Believe The Hype” is a bold and thought-provoking song that challenges listeners to question the information they receive from the media and other sources. The track features a catchy beat, funky bassline, and intricate scratching that give it a distinct hip-hop flavor.
The lyrics are filled with social commentary and skepticism, urging the listener to be wary of the messages they are fed by those in power. The vocals are delivered with a smooth and confident flow, highlighting the importance of critical thinking and independent thought.
The chorus is particularly memorable, with a hook that urges listeners not to believe everything they hear in the media. The song’s overall message is one of empowerment and self-reliance, encouraging individuals to take control of their own beliefs and opinions.
With its catchy beat and thought-provoking lyrics, “Don’t Believe The Hype” is a track that is sure to make an impact on anyone who listens. Its message is one that is particularly relevant in today’s age of information overload, where it can be difficult to separate truth from fiction.
8. Can’t Truss It (1991)
“Can’t Truss It” is a powerful and provocative song that addresses issues of race and injustice in America. The track features a bold and aggressive beat, heavy bassline, and distorted guitar riffs that give it a raw and edgy feel.
The lyrics are filled with social commentary and commentary on the struggles faced by Black Americans. The vocals are delivered with an intense and fiery energy, reflecting the anger and frustration that many people feel in the face of systemic oppression.
The chorus is particularly memorable, with a hook that emphasizes the importance of standing up for oneself and fighting for change. The song’s overall message is one of empowerment and resistance, urging listeners to take action and demand justice.
With its powerful lyrics and hard-hitting instrumentation, “Can’t Truss It” is a song that is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who hears it. Its message is one that is particularly relevant in today’s climate of racial tension and political unrest.
9. Welcome To The Terrordome (1990)
“Welcome To The Terrordome” is a hard-hitting and politically charged song that speaks to issues of racism, police brutality, and social injustice. The track features a frenetic and energetic beat, heavy bassline, and screeching guitar riffs that give it a powerful and intense feel.
The lyrics are filled with bold and confrontational language, addressing the struggles faced by Black Americans and calling out those who seek to oppress and marginalize them. The vocals are delivered with an urgent and impassioned energy, reflecting the urgency of the song’s message.
The chorus is particularly memorable, with a hook that emphasizes the harsh reality of living in a society that is plagued by racism and violence. The song’s overall message is one of resistance and defiance, urging listeners to stand up against injustice and fight for change.
With its powerful lyrics and electrifying instrumentation, “Welcome To The Terrordome” is a song that is sure to inspire and motivate anyone who hears it. Its message is one that is particularly relevant in today’s tumultuous political and social climate.
10. Bring The Noise (1987)
“Bring The Noise” is an electrifying song that is a collaborative effort between the legendary rap group Public Enemy and thrash metal band Anthrax. The track was originally released in 1987 and has since become an iconic representation of the fusion between rap and heavy metal music.
The opening guitar riff, paired with Chuck D’s commanding vocals, immediately sets the tone for an explosive and energetic track. The lyrics are politically charged and address issues of race, inequality, and police brutality.
The chorus features the famous line, “Bring the noise,” which is a call to action for people to stand up against injustice and make their voices heard. The song’s message is powerful and inspiring, encouraging listeners to challenge the status quo and fight for change.
The song’s production is top-notch, with the combination of Public Enemy’s hard-hitting rap verses and Anthrax’s thrashing guitar riffs creating a unique and unforgettable sound. The song’s influence can still be felt in today’s music scene, as it paved the way for future collaborations between rap and rock artists.
Overall, “Bring The Noise” is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with fans of both rap and rock music, thanks to its powerful message and innovative sound.
11. You’re Gonna Get Yours (1987)
“You’re Gonna Get Yours” is a powerful and defiant rap anthem by the iconic hip hop group, Public Enemy. Released in 1987, the song is a blistering call to action that addresses issues of racism, poverty, and police brutality in inner-city communities.
The track opens with a sample of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” which is quickly followed by Chuck D’s explosive vocals. The lyrics are delivered with a fierce intensity, as Chuck D raps about the struggles faced by black Americans and the need to fight back against oppression.
The song’s title is a warning to those who would try to stand in the way of progress, with Chuck D declaring that anyone who tries to hold others down will eventually face the consequences of their actions.
The production of the song is raw and gritty, with a relentless beat and samples of political speeches and news reports adding to the urgency of the message. The track’s energy is infectious, with the combination of Chuck D’s powerful flow and Flavor Flav’s hypeman interjections creating a sound that is both defiant and empowering.
“You’re Gonna Get Yours” is a classic example of Public Enemy’s uncompromising style, and its message of resistance and perseverance still resonates today. The song’s influence can be heard in the work of countless artists who have followed in Public Enemy’s footsteps, making it a true hip hop classic.
12. By The Time I Get To Arizona (1991)
“By the Time I Get to Arizona” is a powerful protest song by Public Enemy, an American hip hop group, released in 1991. The song’s lyrics address Arizona’s refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday, and the group’s anger towards the state’s government for their decision.
The song begins with a speech by a fictional politician, advocating for the assassination of Public Enemy’s members, followed by a steady drumbeat and a hypnotic bassline. Chuck D’s vocal delivery is strong and commanding, with lyrics that call for social justice and condemn racism and discrimination.
The chorus is a call-to-arms, urging listeners to stand up against injustice and oppression. The song’s intense energy and militant lyrics make it a powerful anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice causes.
“By the Time I Get to Arizona” is a stirring and uncompromising song that remains relevant today, highlighting the ongoing struggle for equality and the need for systemic change.
13. Prophets Of Rage (1988)
“Prophets of Rage” is a powerful and politically charged rap-metal song by the supergroup of the same name, consisting of members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill. Released in 2016, the song’s lyrics are a scathing critique of the United States’ political and social systems and the government’s failure to address issues such as police brutality, poverty, and racial inequality.
The song’s chorus features a chant of “we the people,” emphasizing the power of collective action and the need for individuals to come together to fight for justice. The verses feature blistering rap verses and heavy guitar riffs, creating a sense of urgency and anger.
“Prophets of Rage” is a rallying cry for social change, urging listeners to take action and demand accountability from those in power. The song’s raw energy and uncompromising message make it a powerful anthem for the resistance movement and a call to action for those seeking a better, more just world.
14. Brothers Gonna Work It Out (1990)
“Brothers Gonna Work It Out” is a powerful and uplifting song that inspires unity and solidarity among all people, particularly those who have been historically marginalized and oppressed. The song features a funky and groovy beat, with an infectious chorus that encourages listeners to come together and work towards a better future. The lyrics speak to the struggles of everyday life, but also offer hope and a sense of community in the face of adversity. The song was originally released by the American hip-hop group Public Enemy in 1990, and has since become a rallying cry for social justice movements around the world. With its message of perseverance and collaboration, “Brothers Gonna Work It Out” continues to be a timeless anthem of resistance and resilience.
15. Night Of The Living Baseheads (1988)
“Night of the Living Baseheads” is a seminal hip-hop track that addresses the crack epidemic of the 1980s and its devastating effects on black communities in the United States. The song, released by the legendary rap group Public Enemy in 1988, features a frenzied beat and urgent lyrics that capture the chaos and desperation of the time. The title is a play on the classic horror movie “Night of the Living Dead,” and the song paints a vivid picture of drug addiction as a kind of zombie apocalypse, with users wandering the streets in search of their next fix. The lyrics also criticize the government and media’s response to the crisis, pointing out the hypocrisy and racism inherent in their approach. “Night of the Living Baseheads” is a powerful and unflinching commentary on a dark chapter in American history, and a testament to the transformative potential of hip-hop as a tool for social change.
16. Hazy Shade of Criminal (1992)
“Hazy Shade of Criminal” is a thought-provoking and socially conscious track that explores the complex realities of crime and justice in America. The song was released by the rap group Public Enemy in 1992, and features a haunting melody and powerful lyrics that challenge listeners to confront uncomfortable truths about the criminal justice system. The title refers to the blurred lines between criminality and the systemic forces that contribute to it, with the song calling out racism, poverty, and corruption as underlying factors. The lyrics also highlight the injustices faced by people of color within the legal system, including wrongful convictions and police brutality. “Hazy Shade of Criminal” is a powerful and provocative song that continues to resonate with audiences today, as issues of race and policing remain at the forefront of national conversation.
17. Louder Than a Bomb
“Louder Than a Bomb” is an electrifying and empowering song by the influential hip-hop group Public Enemy. Released in 1988, the song features a driving beat and incendiary lyrics that capture the raw energy and rebellious spirit of the group’s early years. The title is a reference to the explosive power of music and the potential for art to be a force for change in the world. The lyrics touch on a wide range of social and political issues, from police brutality to racism to poverty, and challenge listeners to confront the realities of systemic oppression. “Louder Than a Bomb” is a call to action, urging people to use their voices and their creativity to fight for justice and equality. With its timeless message of resistance and solidarity, the song remains a classic of the hip-hop genre, and a powerful testament to the transformative power of art.
18. Cold Lampin’ With Flavor
“Cold Lampin’ With Flavor” is a funky and playful song by the influential hip-hop group Public Enemy. Released in 1988, the song features a catchy beat and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that celebrate the group’s unique style and attitude. The title is a reference to the slang term “lampin’,” which means hanging out or chilling, and the song captures the fun-loving, party atmosphere of hip-hop culture in the late 1980s. The lyrics also touch on themes of social and political consciousness, with references to police brutality and racism. “Cold Lampin’ With Flavor” is a reminder of the importance of having fun and enjoying life, even in the face of adversity. With its infectious rhythm and clever wordplay, the song continues to be a beloved classic of the hip-hop genre, and a testament to Public Enemy’s enduring influence on contemporary music.
“Nighttrain” is a classic instrumental track by the legendary jazz musician James Brown. Released in 1962, the song features a propulsive rhythm and electrifying horns that capture the excitement and energy of a train racing through the night. The song is a showcase for Brown’s virtuosity as a bandleader and arranger, with each section of the band taking turns to build on the song’s driving groove. The title is a nod to the tradition of blues and jazz songs that celebrate the romance and adventure of train travel, and “Nighttrain” is a standout example of this tradition. The song has been sampled and covered by numerous artists over the years, and remains a beloved classic of the funk and soul genres. With its infectious energy and unstoppable momentum, “Nighttrain” is a timeless masterpiece of American music.
20. He Got Game (1998)
“He Got Game” is a powerful and emotive track by the iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy. Released in 1998, the song features a soulful and melodic chorus sung by American blues musician, songwriter, and guitarist Stephen Stills, and a powerful rap verse by Public Enemy’s frontman, Chuck D. The song was written for the Spike Lee film of the same name, which tells the story of a father and son’s relationship as the son navigates his way through the high-stakes world of college basketball. The lyrics touch on themes of ambition, perseverance, and the struggle for success, as well as the societal pressures and racial inequalities that often define the lives of young black men in America. “He Got Game” is a poignant and inspiring tribute to the power of determination and self-belief, and a powerful testament to the social and cultural significance of hip-hop music.