Public Enemy – Power to the People and the Beats Review

Link: Official Public Enemy Website

The Inside Pulse: At one time the most dangerous band in the world, Public Enemy brought an unapologetic, in-your-face style to Hip-Hop in the late 80’s to early 90’s. Combining the sonic assault of the Bomb Squad, the steel wheels of Terminator X, the menacing presence of Professor Griff and the S1W’s, the unpredictable insanity of Flavor Flav, and the commanding baritone of Chuck D, PE stormed the American cultural landscape with a potent mix of slamming beats and Black militancy. With their first album, Yo, Bum Rush the Show, they put the rap game on notice that times were a changin’. Their follow-up, It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, is arguably the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time. But after hit albums Fear of a Black Planet and Apocalypse ’91: The Enemy Strikes Black, Public Enemy seemed to fade into the woodwork, only briefly resurfacing in the public consciousness with the hit title song to Spike Lee’s He Got Game. Now, PE is dropping their definitive Greatest Hits album, Power to the People and the Beats, as a reminder of just how relevant they were and are.

Positives: Most of their trademark hits are here. From “Public Enemy #1” off their first album all the way to “He Got Game”, this album hits all the high points. “Bring the Noise”, “Don’t Believe the Hype”, “Fight the Power”, “Welcome to the Terrordome”, “Cant Truss It”, “Hazy Shade of Criminal”. This is 18 tracks of PE at their finest.

Negatives: The only questionable track on here is Muse Sick In Hour Mess Age’s “Give It Up”, which doesn’t come close to standing up to the other tracks. Also absent are anything from There’s a Poison Goin’ On and Revolverlution, which makes the addition of “Give It Up” all the more puzzling. Also conspicuously absent is “Night of the Living Baseheads” and “Burn Hollywood Burn”, both of which should have made the album long before “Give It Up”. It might have also been interesting to have included PE’s “Bring the Noise” collaboration with Anthrax.

Cross-breed: None. No one has sounded like Public Enemy before or since.

Reason to buy: If you don’t have any Public Enemy albums, this is the perfect primer. If you do, why not complete the set?

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!