Wednesday, June 15, 2011

300 Fear of a black planet. Hip Hop makes a statement.

Album: Fear of a Black Planet
Artist: Public Enemy
Year: 1990
Genre: Hip Hop


  1. Contract On The World Love Jam
  2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out
  3. 911 Is A Joke
  4. Incident At 66.6 FM
  5. Welcome To The Terrordome
  6. Meet The G That Killed Me
  7. Pollywanacraka
  8. Anti-Nigger Machine
  9. Burn Hollywood Burn
  10. Power To The People
  11. Who Stole The Soul?
  12. Fear Of A Black Planet
  13. Revolutionary Generation
  14. Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man
  15. Reggie Jax
  16. Leave This Off Your Fuckin Charts
  17. B Side Wins Again
  18. War At 33⅓
  19. Final Count Of The Collision Between Us And The Damned
  20. Fight The Power

There is definitely a fantastic album in here somewhere, the problem is it’s only there in bits and there are people rapping over the top of it. Fear of a Black Planet uses samples for its instrumentation and the list of songs it steals beats and licks from is really impressive. Funk masters like James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, The Meters, Parliament, The Temptations and Isaac Haynes along with some of Pop and Rock's biggest names (Michael Jackson and the Beatles) play on the album albeit unwittingly. I could put together a killer album made up of tracks this album stole from.

I have to point out here that you can’t actually recognize any of the songs in their original form. Public Enemy’s samples are so limited in their length but extensive in their selection that their choices become unrecognizeable and you can’t help but wonder why they didn’t actually get someone in to actually play the drums rather than just nick bits of drumming from all over the place. Session drummers are so prolific I could probably throw a copy of this CD from my window and hit five of them in the street, although only two of them would actually notice (first drummer joke of the blog, I promise it's my last).

Thankfully Public Enemy’s lyrics aren’t the over indulgent, self-aggrandizing that I’ve had to endure in the past. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube (not their real names) are more concerned with African American culture and the United states as a whole than their own sexual conquests. The depth of their lyrics is a refreshing change and completely removes a hurdle that I always have to overcome when trying to appreciate hip hop.

No doubt earnest, elderly, white professors in places of learning all over the world have written long and little-read essays comparing these lyrics to Walt Whitman and they've probably got a point. But for the majority of Rap fans Fear of A Black Planet is proof that rap music can be important and should be taken seriously. I can't help but admire it but I'd rather listen to the songs sampled than the new tracks they've made up.

Influenced by: Old School Rap.
Influenced: Rap as we know it.

Highlight: Some of the instrumentals.
Lowlight: Reggie Jax

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "These criminals crank out musically bankrupt albums which they load with explitives to attempt to cover up their dearth of musical and lyrical talent. Hatred of whites, Jews, honest work, the law etc. are what make up the bulk of their trite lyrics. As recently as the 1940's there was genuine musical talent in the western world -- what have we come to?"

-As recently as the 1940's! I think this person is trying to claim the 1940's were recent and that there has been no musical talent in the western world since then. Big claim.

So do you fear a black planet or is it all white with you? Let me know below.

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