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review: Public Enemy – Rebirth of a Nation

February 6, 2006

PE returns with Rebirth of a Nation, a self referential tribute to their seminal rap record, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Today the only thing holding PE back is their new producer Paris. Terminator X is back, however Hank Shocklee’s “Wall of Sound” is not. Chuck still has his revolutionary fury, refusing to be silenced by the din of the shufflin’ bucks that call themselves rappers these days. Yet, without the crushing beats from the old stuff, the music just doesn’t have that same impact.

Flava Flav takes time out from his self-promotional jaunts on TV/decent into madness to play the jester role once again, even he fails to elicit a chuckle. His personality is so big however, anything he raps over makes ya smile. “Go to Jones Beach/Get on the back of a shark,” he says in “They Call Me Flava.” Huh?

PE has the same old enemies, the CIA, bringing in drugs to the black community, complacency, wack rappers, and a Republican President. The new villain is Western beauty standards (“Plastic Nation”). I suppose when old artists make a comeback, you want them to try something new, however this record had me wishing for something old.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    March 12, 2006 3:56 pm

    Don’t believe the hype — Terminator X is not on this album, despite what a few of the samples say. It’s just a desperate attempt to convince you PE is “back”..when they’ve been gone for a long time.

  2. the LC permalink
    March 25, 2006 5:03 am

    Neither Terminator nor Flav recorded anything for this album… only Chuck & Griff contributed new material, and the rest is outtakes of old shit spliced together by Paris.

  3. kloten permalink
    April 30, 2006 6:06 pm

    A weak effort by Paris, the music on this is not even of the same quality of previous Paris albums, let alone worthy of being placed in Public Enemy’s discography.

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