Blockbuster rap group included rappers Chuck D and Flavor Flav and dj supreme Terminator X. Their album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back hit the rap scene with its militant lyrics and chaotic, hard sound.

PE started a genre that later would become hardcore rap and then gansta rap. Even though PE's lyrics themselves typically preached culture-awareness more than violence, the violent side of their music was the primary media focus.

I remember the first time I saw Public Enemy. It was in Chicago at the Nation of Islam's Temple Number One on the South Side. Me and Kevin went down there with our last $$$ and a handful of Revolutionary Workers to try and turn some of the brothers heads towards making a revolution.

We get to the show and the band sanz Flavor Flav are set up on the back of a truck in the parking lot. We're the only white people there. We have a good time, nobody hassels us other than this one guy selling The Final Call, the NOI newspaper. We tried to trade with him but he didn't want to trade he wanted $$$, and when we said we didn't have any, he didn't believe us, because we were white! He kept on hassling us to buy a newspaper and we had no money and he kept following us around giving us the evil eye.

The sound sucked and without Flavor Flav... it wasn't the best.

The next time I saw PE it was also in Chicago on a double bill with Sonic Youth at the Aragon Ballroom, and a year or two latter. It was December 1990 and the troops were in the Persian Gulf. WE (a whole bunch of friends: Kevin, Anika, Sam, Jethro (what a brother know), Heidi, AK, Juliete, Karyn...) went down to the show and hung a huge banner from the balcony that said, " Stop The US War Machine: By Any Means Necessary or something like that. We were so psyched when Chuck D got on the mic and said how stupid it would be for any black man to go and fight in the desert for Bush and for cheap oil.

After the show we exited quickly and set up across the street with the banner and a megaphone from the trunk of the car. AK was on the mic and within seconds of him begining his oratory the plainclothes cops swooped on him syaing, "you better get off the mic, or we'll arrest your ass."

AK says, "no way, I got free speech."

They say, "no you don't." and bum rush him sending him sprawling into a doorway the mic goes skidding out into the stret and before we know it he's in cuffs being led back across the street into the Aragon.

So we start shouting and pointing this out to the crowd, which is spilling out of the show and they notice and aren't too happy and start to push and shove the cops... and well one thing led to another and there was a mini riot. About a dozen people get arrested including Kevin and AK and many more get whacked by the cops... In the end they call in a squad of horses, plust 8 or so paddy wagons.

One guy is filming the whole meley and the cops see him and start to come after him, so he hands the camera off to his girlfriend and takes off running... she heads to the indoor garage next door to put the camera in the car... two cops charge after her, knock her to the ground from behind, arrest her and confiscate the viddeycamera. The videotape was latter destroyed.

In the end there was a small editorial in the Chicago Sun Times the next day by John Cusack. He happened to be at the show and he too recieved his 2 cents worth of police abuse and was more than a little pissed about it.

People in Public Enemy

Professor Griff (Richard Griff), Chuck D (Carlton Ridenhour), and Flavor Flav (William Drayton) - vocals
Well, Griff used to be.

Terminator X (Norman Lee Rogers) - decks

The Bomb Squad, led by Hank Shocklee - production
The Bomb Squad's typical method of operation involved making lots of crap and taking out the good bits. They would pile into the studio manning samplers, drum machines, turntables, and other equipment and make noise for hours, recording EVERYTHING. Later, they would listen to the tape and pick out a good loops that popped up. There has been discussion that Drexciya does the same.

Security of the First World - those scary looking guys dressed in camo who back up Public Enemy at live shows

Bill Stepheny - publicity

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