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Rap Flashback – Fear of a Black Planet


April 10, 1990 was the release date of Public Enemy’s 3rd album, Fear of a Black Planet.  Produced by the legendary Bomb Squad and powered by the politically conscious number 1 single ‘Fight The Power’ (also featured on Spike Lee’s film ‘Do The Right Thing’), the album sold 1 million copies in its first week, an impressive feat today, but practically unheard of for a Hip Hop album back in the late 80s / early 90s.  Driving the record were Chuck D’s trademark powerful voice and socially conscious lyrics, prevalent throughout this record, as evidenced by this gem from “Fight the Power”:

“Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant sh!t to me, you see.  Straight out racist, the sucker was simple and plain. [Flava Flav] Motherfu&k him and John Wayne!  ‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud, I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped.  Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.”


The record also featured Flava Flav’s most famous solo effort, “911 is a Joke”.  In the song Flava is critical (albeit in a hilarious manner) of the slow response times from police when responding to emergencies in inner city / urban areas.  Given the track reached number 1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, it’s fair to say most people from around the way felt the same way Flav does on this topic.

A true classic among classics, Fear of a Black Planet is widely regarded as one of the best and most culturally significant Hip Hop albums to date.  In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it 300th on its list of 500 greatest albums of all time and in 2005 the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry.  For these reasons along with the fact that the album BUMPS, JP Lime salutes Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. SOUND OF THE FUNKY DRUMMER!

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