Thursday, September 5, 2013

398 of 1001 Albums: Public Enemy's Apocalypse '91...The Enemy Strikes Back

It seems I've just landed in a lot of rap and metal of late, and neither I'm a huge fan of. I even had Anthrax mixed into Public Enemy's last song on this album, "Bring Tha Noize." I guess what this album seems to me though is that while the content of rap has changed a bit there is still a lot of angry tones that drive it. Except it seems in the early 90's they were dealing with topics that mattered more like racism, the media, etc. It didn't seem to be about only money and sex for the majority of the content. These guys also seem to have taken some inspiration from Ice Cube and included content that makes the songs pop with more realism by making it sound as if the horrors are being broadcast while listening.

History: With the album garnering a lot of critical acclaim and reaching number four on the Billboard Charts, it was a huge hit in 1991 during it's release. The album's title was obviously a play with words regarding The Empire Strikes Back. The album also did cover some popular events at the time in it's video for single, in which they murdered the governor of Arizona because at the time he had refused to recognize Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday.

Vocals: I think the rap sounds good and it flows well with the hip hop sound. The group is led by some recognizable names including Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and Terminator X. The group is still one to this day that is much talked about, so it' sort of sad that Flavor Flav went and made himself taken less seriously as an artist by doing his really bad reality show for some time. I think the recent generation doesn't even know him from Public Enemy. The guys have a lot of passion for what they are singing about though.

Instrumentals: This album does get quite creative with where they expand the hip hop genre. They cover an Anthrax song to involve a bit of metal, and it's probably rap metal being done at it's earliest before bands actually straight up just did that. You also have a wide array of other talent that comes into the album to mix it up. While you still have the mixing element involved there is also a lot of talent used to make the instrumentals done well and that is something that has been lacking from some hip hop albums. You have the brass brought in, good drums and a guitar. Still though I'm just not a fan of the genre.

Recording: This album does sound a bit a less dated than what was coming out at the time as well. With the usage of media I also feel like I am being taken back in time to events then, even though some might say the message is just as relevant today as it has ever been. The message and sound still have a sound that can translate over to 2013.

Overall, Public Enemy has a reason they are known as one of the top of pioneering their genre. I think they even do it better than Ice Cube, though I will say he was a tad more catchy to listen to. I just don't find a personal reason I would continue to listen to the album after I have heard it once though. It doesn't ring as something that pulls me in while I am listening.

Rating 3 of 10.

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