PE Brings The Noise Again
Mrs Commish laughs at me when I get goose bumps when a certain handful of rap tracks start playing. There's only a few that literally get the hair standing and send that "ooooh shiiiiiit" chill down my spine in anticipation of what is to come. The opening salvo to Public Enemy's "Welcome To The Terrordome" is one of those chillers.
Perhaps it's knowing that the shear musical massacre of a beat that's coming, coupled with the "hard rhymer" Chuck D's lyrics. Maybe it's the memories of copping that Fear Of A Black Planet CD in Spring of 1990 and after seamlessly listening to tracks 1-3 (the opener and equally banging "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" and "911 Is A Joke") and then the perfect intro of "Incident at 66.6 FM" before rolling into said "Terrordome." (Although the track was dropped the previous summer, it's placement in that entire album framed it ever more poignantly than as a stand-alone single.)
Maybe it was remembering the massive swaying of the McNichols Arena crowd in September of 1990 when that beat dropped, before somewhat disintegrating as a massive fight broke out among gang bangers in the first few rows.
Whatever the cause may be it is sure to be duplicated as PE becomes the second "new school" rap group to enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this weekend.
While I opined that Run DMC changed my life, PE changed the way I looked at life. It's easy for a white suburban teen of the late 80s to say how PE opened his or her eyes to an unseen world, it's almost cliche in the annals of Hip Hop history. But, fuck it, in my case, it is damn true.
(Remember that Run DMC poster in the garage that is pretty tattered? Yep, PE one right next to it.)
Who are these people they are talking about? What is this injustice? How serious of a problem is this even though it's not really going on in my neighborhood? All questions that sought to be answered (and in some cases are still trying to be answered; as many of the topics PE addressed on each of their albums are still relevant.)
In perfect harmony with the content was the music, the beats, the samples. Damn, the samples. An album like any of PE's first three classics would put any record company into bankruptcy these days. The list of samples reads like a 70s/80s soul/rock/rap/etc playlist to end all playlists.
Enter Chuck D above the fray of all else. One of the most distinctive voices ever, and the most over-looked when the conversation of greatest ever MCs is brought up. Sure, Chuck isn't gonna have some "oh damn, no he didn't!" metaphor, but he damn sure is gonna have that "damn, Chuck is dropping the knowledge" moment.
Mix in one Flavor Flav and his status as Hip Hop's top hypeman (and don't front on his solo efforts- "Get Off My Back" or "I Can't Do Nuthin For Ya Man", etc) and the crowd controller Terminator X (again, whose solo Valley Of The Jeep Beats contained some bangers "Homey Don't Play That" and "Buck Whylin") and you have a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame resume like no other.
Yes, 2013. PE still fighting the power, still bringing the noise, still rebels without a pause. Just officially.