Public enemy

Biography: Their left-right combination of black socio-political awareness and mind-busting production--sirens, gunshots, scratches and newscast samples--made Public Enemy a favorite among black rap and white rock fans alike.

Led by the bull-throated Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour on August 1, 1960 in New York City) and the nasal-voiced Flavor Flav (born William Drayton on March 16, 1959 in New York City), the group came together around an Adelphi College, Long Island radio show. The first Public Enemy LP, 1987's Yo! Bum Rush The Show, finds the group--which included "minister of information" Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) and turntable wizard Terminator X (born Norman Rogers)--still getting its sound together. Their second effort, 1988's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, was a masterpiece. While "Bring The Noise" lived up to its titular promise--thanks to the production efforts of Hank Shocklee, Carl Ryder and Eric (Vietnam) Sadler--Chuck D's raps confronted
Their left-right combination of black socio-political awareness and mind-busting production--sirens, gunshots, scratches and newscast samples--made Public Enemy a favorite among black rap and white rock fans alike.

Led by the bull-throated Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour on August 1, 1960 in New York City) and the nasal-voiced Flavor Flav (born William Drayton on March 16, 1959 in New York City), the group came together around an Adelphi College, Long Island radio show. The first Public Enemy LP, 1987's Yo! Bum Rush The Show, finds the group--which included "minister of information" Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) and turntable wizard Terminator X (born Norman Rogers)--still getting its sound together. Their second effort, 1988's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, was a masterpiece. While "Bring The Noise" lived up to its titular promise--thanks to the production efforts of Hank Shocklee, Carl Ryder and Eric (Vietnam) Sadler--Chuck D's raps confronted everything from the media ("Don't Believe The Hype") to crack addiction ("Night Of The Living Baseheads"), and Flavor Flav provided comic relief ("Cold Lampin' With Flavor"). Controversy engulfed the group when public anti-Semitic remarks forced Griff's exit; he's since made two forgettable solo LPs. With Shocklee's brother Keith joining the production team, Public Enemy responded with 1990's hard-hitting Fear Of A Black Planet, highlighted by "Fight The Power"--first heard on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing--"Burn Hollywood Burn," and Flavor Flav's blackly humorous "911 Is A Joke." Drafting a new set of producers, Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Black showcased strong lyrics ("By The Time I Get To Arizona," "1 Million Bottlebags") and a duet with Anthrax on a remake of "Bring The Noise," but lacks the sonic innovation and much of the dark humor of its predecessors. (Terminator X issued the first of his two solo LPs in '91 as well.)

The group's next record, 1992's Greatest Misses, sported six new songs--"Air Hoodlum" was the standout--and seven remixes. Their righteous message obliterated by the success of gangsta rap, Public Enemy fought back with 1994's Muse Sick N Hour Mess Age--using vintage soul samples to support its anti-crime message--but neither black nor white audiences wanted to hear that. In 1996, Chuck D released a solo LP (Autobiography Of Mistachuck) that likewise fell on deaf ears. With Professor Griff back in the fold, the band reconvened for another Spike Lee collaboration, the soundtrack to He Got Game (1998), and a full-fledged album, There's A Poison Goin' On (1999); both projects garnered Public Enemy some attention, but still at nowhere near the level of their late-'80s prime. Nowadays, following PE's departure from their longtime label Def Jam and subsequent signing to Web-based maverick Atomic Pop, it seems that Chuck D's getting more attention for his passionate advocacy of the Internet as a new creative and business outlet for musicians than for the continued power of his own music.
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Public enemy's Scores

Average career score: 70
Highest Metascore: 76 The Evil Empire of Everything
Lowest Metascore: 65 Revolverlution
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
3 music reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
76 The Evil Empire of Everything Nov 6, 2012 Primary Artist 8.0
71 How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? Aug 7, 2007 Primary Artist 9.1
65 Revolverlution Jul 23, 2002 Primary Artist 9.0