11th of August 1973 is widely considered to be the the day that marked the birth of hip-hop. To celebrate this anniversary we revisit Abbas Ali’s piece on a hip-hop classic.
It’s impossible to mention music in the 80s without mentioning hip hop, and it’s impossible to mention 80s hip hop without mentioning Public Enemy. The crew burst out onto the music scene in the New York in 1987 with ‘Yo Bum Rush The Show’ but it was following year that bona-fide classic album ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back’ made stars out of them with its controversy-courting anthems. With the distinctive production of Hank Shocklee, and DJ Terminator X and the insanity of clock-wearing Hype man Flavour Flav, as well as their own backing dancers / personal army, the ‘Security Of The First World’ lead by Professor Griff, PE were nothing if not idiosyncratic. Meanwhile, rapper Chuck D’s angry, thoughtful exposition of corruption and injustice in American society was totally at odds with the bling espoused by modern rap in the form of multimillionaire brand-baiting MCs like 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Kanye West.