In class last Friday we watched a documentary about hip hop music’s development. One of the major bands that were presented in the documentary was Public Enemy. They are an American rap group with political messages in their lyrics but their songs also has a dense layered sound and that is probably why they are so famous and influential. The original members were Chuck D (Carlton Ridenhour), Flavor Flav (William Drayton), Terminator X (Norman Lee Rogers), and Professor Griff (Richard Giffin. The band was formed 1982 by a group of African Americans. Public Enemy brought radical black political ideology to pop music in an unprecedented fashion on albums. “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” is known as Public Enemy’s masterpiece. The album has messages of the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X.

“Clear all the madness, I'm not a racist
Preach to teach to all”
This line is from the song “Don’t Believe the Hype” by public enemy

I personally think this line is about Malcolm X and how he preached to the people in Harlem. Malcolm X was a very influential person and Public Enemy actually uses some of his quotes in their songs. In "Night of the Living Baseheads" Malcolm X's quote, "Too black, too strong," is used and it plays twice, They embraces the quote as it’s their own statement. The Public enemy’s open admiration for the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan shows was very important for their music but it also brought some problem with the Jewish organizations. While Public Enemy's activism inspired other artists to take up topical themes, the group's influence waned in the early 1990s as younger, more “ghettocentric” performers such as N.W.A. and Snoop Doggy Dogg came to the fore. So Public Enemy was an important group for the hip hop culture and they were inspired by many different things like Malcolm X.


"Public Enemy." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010 .


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