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Public Enemy: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Jan 12 2011

As hip-hop old-schoolers well know, Public Enemy set the bar for conscious rap in the late '80s. Albums like It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet melded the radical street politics of bandleader Chuck D. with banging beats, inventive scratching, and goofy MC antics from Flavor Flav, Terminator X, and Professor Griff. Provocative, anthemic, and seemingly quite dangerous, Public Enemy appealed to arena-sized crowds of young people. But the popularity and promise of such revolutionary rap soon gave way to more innocuous styles, and Public Enemy lost its megasized mic. Taking the D.I.Y. route, the group has continued to release hard-hitting albums every few years, but without mainstream attention and endorsements by Jay-Z or Kanye, its message falls mostly on the faithful.

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Sam Prestianni

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