Public Enemy Fight the Power With Passion on ‘What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?’

For their 15th album, Public Enemy are back on Def Jam, the powerhouse label they helped build with their golden-age hip-hop classics. It’s a well-timed return to the center of the industry. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has seen a reawakening of the protest radicalism that PE originally brought to rap, from Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” to Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture” to DaBaby’s BLM remix of “Rockstar.” So when they ask, “Is rap still the black CNN?” — embodying the voice of the music’s traditionalist gatekeepers on What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down? — the answer this time around is actually, “Yes, it sort of is.”

Being weirdly relevant yet proudly in their own world, passionately urgent yet resolutely ornery, has often been a PE hallmark, and here they nail a potent mix of “fight the powers that be” and “get the fuck off my lawn.” On “GRID,” featuring funk god George Clinton and Cypress Hill, Chuck goes off on techno overload and iPhone-zombie addiction (“No internet no text and no tweets/Will look like the Eighties with fiends in the streets”). It’s a great message in a time when internet-rabbit-hole deep-diving has turned suburban Republican moms into Pizzagate psychos, adorably delivered in a way that sounds a little like pissed-off parents trying their kids off TikTok: “Aww snap! No apps, just maybe perhaps/No grid is what we need for new human contact.” Elsewhere, the album is suffused with nostalgia for Public Enemy’s Eighties glory days; their old Def Jam label mates Mike D and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC all pop up on, along with Terminator X, a new version of their 1987 jam “Public Enemy No. 1,” (titled “Public Enemy Number Won”), while on “Rest in Beats,” Chuck turns a celebration of departed hip-hop figures into a demand for the music itself to live up to their legacy,


Views: 18

Reply to This

Best guide to hip hop, soul, reggae concerts & events in San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles & New York City + music, videos, radio and more


Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to E-Blast




  • Add Photos
  • View All


Latest Activity

BLACC WIDOHH posted blog posts
6 hours ago
bosshogg posted discussions
9 hours ago
Dj Smoke (@PromoMixtapes) posted discussions
10 hours ago
Editor's Pick posted discussions
13 hours ago
Erick Goodman updated their profile
20 hours ago
Support Those That Support You posted a blog post

[Exclusive] Upcoming Rap Artist JoJo2Amazing Unites With Newly Signed Universal Records Artist Trill Will To Release "Long Road" Video

New York rapper JoJo2amazing takes us along for quite the ride with his new song and music video “Long Road” ft Florida’s own Trill Will. This is an ODBM (OnDaBeatzMafia) collaboration with Trill Will’s label; Full Circle Music Group, whom is partnered with Universal Music Group. JoJo2amazing, the owner of his independent label ODBM, shows his team strengths on full…See More
Heman Kidd updated their profile
TEAM BIGGA RANKIN posted blog posts
bosshogg posted discussions
Dj Smoke (@PromoMixtapes) posted a discussion

Hard Hedd SeddO - Keep It Moving

Hard Hedd SeddO - Keep It MovingTwo new singles from Hard Hedd Sedd0 light up the clubs with upbeat fun vibes MEMPHIS, TN – Shelby County bred and Mississippi fed, Hard Hedd Sedd0 is a grinder who continued to pump out hit after hit. Operating out…See More
Editor's Pick posted discussions
bosshogg posted a discussion

© 2020   Created by Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service