Public Enemy Does Brownsville Freebie

Public Enemy Does Brownsville Freebie 6-21-16

There’s no one who is more important from what’s come to be known as the golden age of hip hop than Public Enemy.  Last Tuesday evening Betsy Head Park in Brownsville was the place to be as Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and Professor Grif rocked the mics and treated the Brooklyn neighborhood to a free concert as part of the Summerstage series.  On this day, June 28th, in 1988 – 28 years ago, PE released It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.  That album’s Don’t Believe The Hype and Bring The Noise figured in the setlist.  The former read like a manifesto for the kind of perceptive street reporting that’s at the root of the group’s vitality.  The latter, with its Yoko Ono and Anthrax references along with ones to Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Eric B, suggested the crew’s omnivorous musical appetites and sense of context and continuum.

Delivering overtly political social commentary on record, as genius as it may be – (911 Is A Joke from 1989’s Fear Of A Black Planet was also performed) – doesn’t guarantee an exciting live experience.  Having  DJ Lord and Khari Wynn in the band, however, does.  DJ Lord put on an absolute exhibition on the turntables while Wynn offered guitar thrills on the other side of the stage that toughened and elevated the sonic stew.

Public Enemy will be back in Brooklyn, in Coney Island no less, next month as part of The Art of Rap traveling showcase which features a stacked lineup of heavy hitters like Ice T, Naughty By Nature, and Kurtis Blow.

Another track on It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Prophets of Rage gives its name to  a new group that Chuck D has formed with B-Real from Cypress Hill and three quarters of Rage Against The Machine: Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk!  Those guys have put together an election year ‘Make America Rage Again’ tour that will hit the Barclays (Brooklyn again!) in August.

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