Barely 20 seconds into track one, this week’s album broke the golden rule of Hip Hop. If you’re going to refer to yourself as “public enemy number one” you must not be introduced by that stalwart of the Establishment, BBC Television. Oh dear Public Enemy, what a blow to your street cred in one ill-judged moment at the Hammersmith Odeon. Countdown to government-endorsed Armageddon on a Monday night.
Fortunately track two begins a little more credibly, but a funky beat is just not enough to disguise the lyrical let-down that follows. Public Enemy’s priority with this album seems to be telling the world (particularly the government), that they will continue to proclaim their message loudly. However they never seem to get round to the message itself; the majority of the album is spent proclaiming the wonders of Public Enemy, and only right at the end does Party For The Right To Fight finally vaguely refer to increased equality and power.
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is alright if you’re in the mood for some fairly brainless rap with a bit of a bounce, but it seems like a missed opportunity to say something meaningful. Perhaps Public Enemy had already said it all in their first album…