Public Enemy is a well known hip hop group, often known as just PE. They are from the Long Island, New York area and well known for their lyrics, which are politically charged.
The way the group began was an interesting journey. The first origins of the name Public Enemy actually came from a song by Chuck D, “Public Enemy Number One.” Chuck D was signed by Def Jam Records, then he recruited Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Hank Schocklee, and Keith Shocklee, who were known as the Bomb Squad. They were the production team. Then he added Professor Griff, who was the “Minister of Information.” Lst of all Terminator X and Flavor Flav were added, and the group was complete.
Once the group was together, they began to open for the group The Beastie Boys in some of the concerts that they held on the east Coast. The debut album from the group was called Yo! Bum Rush The Show, which was first released in 1987. Then the group would release another album in 1988, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which was much more popular then their first album release. One of the hit singles on this album was “Don’t Believe the Hype” and soon this album was ranked the Album of the Year, which was the very first album in the hip hop genre to hit number one with rock critics.
The most successful album that Public Enemy ever released was Fear of a Black Planet. It involved songs with themes that were politically charged and was actually put in the Library of Congress in 2005, which was a high honor for the group. One of the songs on this album, “Fight the Power” was considered to be the most influential and popular song in the history of hip hop and Accalimedmusic.net has ranked this song the 80th best song of all time.
In many ways, Public Enemy was a pioneer group in the hip hop community. Terminator X often used special scratching tricks in the music and some of the beats offered by the Bomb Squad definitely were unique and innovative. Throughout their music, they brought in new elements to hip hop, include funk and free jazz, giving their music and unique sound. With their consciousness of politics, culture, and the social realm, they brought a whole new level to the hip hop world. Before this group there had been few political hip hop tracks, but Public Enemy would build their entire image around a stance that was political. Soon after their success in this type of hip hop, there were many artists that came forward celebrating many of the Afrocentric themes they did, including X Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Koo Moe Dee, and even Queen Latifah.
Through the past 20+ years, Public Enemy has continued to release and perform their unique brand of hip hop. Since 1987 and their first album, they have released a total of 12 albums, with their last album, How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? being released in 2007.