Episode 220: Enemying in Public

On the TFT Podcast, we listen to and discuss Public Enemy’s second studio album, “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.”

Ryan and Matt discuss joining the Party for Your Right to Fight, whether the Public Enemy should be Privatized, and whether Flava Flav detracts from Chuck D’s political message. (Hint: no.)

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Syllabus: Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

2 Comments on “Episode 220: Enemying in Public”

  1. Rich #

    Bass, How low can you go?

    To get the full effect of this album, find a mid-80s Ford Bronco with the best sound system. Fill the Bronco with high school football players. Listen to the album every day on the way home from football practice for a whole season. That will give you the true feeling of this album. At least that is how I learned it.

    I am a little disappointed by this episode. You send so much time on “Party for a right to Fight” and “Prophets of Rage” you don’t dig into some of the best songs.

    When I listen to “Rebel without a Pause,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype” there is a theme of defining statue. In these songs Chuck D tells us how he, Public Enemy, Rap Music, and African American men are defined and how the definitions are wrong. He calls out radio, the FBI and the rest of culture, telling them they are getting it wrong.

    Calling out radio is something that people not growing up in the 80s might not have context for. Even African American were not playing rap music in prime time. Stations like Power 99 in Philadelphia were playing R&B in the day time and Rap in the overnight. This was a major fight in the rap world.

    I am amazed how under produced “Don’t Believe the Hype” sounds now.

    Growing up I loved “She Watch Channel Zero” but now it feels a little too MRA-ish for me.


    • Ryan Sheely OTI Staff #

      I too was disappointed when we reached the hour mark in the episode and had only gotten to those songs! I could have probably gone for another hour to cover the songs that you mentioned. Really just so much going on throughout the whole album.

      Thanks for setting the scene for how you listened to the album, and for your thoughts on some of what is going on “Rebel without a Pause,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype”. You’re right that these are jams, and that they are the core of what’s going on lyrically/thematically on this album.


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