Collection: 15. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Loud, obnoxious, funky, avant-garde, political, uncompromising, hilarious – Public Enemy’s brilliant second album is all of these things — all at once. Chuck D booms intricate rhymes with a delivery inspired by sportscaster Marv Albert; sidekick Flavor Flav raps comic relief; and production team the Bomb Squad build mesmerizing, multilayered jams, pierced with shrieking sirens. The title and roiling force of “Bring the Noise” is truth in advertising. “If they’re calling my music ‘noise,’ ” said Chuck D, “if they’re saying that I’m really getting out of character being a black person in America, then fine – I’m bringing more noise.”

Along with “Bring the Noise,” Nation classics like “Rebel Without a Pause” were conceived at Spectrum City in the band headquarters in Hempstead, New York. For “Rebel,” producer Hank Shocklee of the Bomb Squad looped a piercing sample of James Brown’s “The Grunt” with Brown’s “Funky Drummer” (“That song was like my milk,” said Shocklee). To write verses that could match such a sonic assault, Chuck locked himself in his house for 24 hours and emerged with broadsides like the media screed “Don’t Believe the Hype.” He wasn’t sure of the results until DMC, of Run-DMC, blasted it out of his Bronco on a Saturday night. Says Shocklee, “The whole block was grooving to it.” -

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