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Raw, furious and epic in its proportions, Public Enemy's debut album roared triumphantly onto the music scene in 1987. And it remains a defining hip-hop title, a trail-blazing record which left in its wake a wave of imitators.
The album roars into gear with an engine sample at the start of 'You're gonna get Yours' and Chuck D's furious vocals deliver on every note. The sound samples accompanying him are blissfully simple, and give enough to help D express himself without overshadowing him. The lyrics are slick and delivered brilliantly, while Terminator X cuts and spins efficiently throughout. 'Sophisticated Bitch' is a slower, but not less impressive, tune. D raps about a woman who bleeds him dry and the lyrics are fresh and well-delivered. The tune is once again very simple, but does the job perfectly. Flavor Flav properly debuts in at song 3, 'Miuzi Weighs a Ton', introducing D in a song which is totally defined by its impressive chorus. Featuring a manipulated James Brown sound bite it blends beautifully into the rap assault which precedes it. D's voice echoes with X's scratching on top-form once again.
'Timebomb' reaches a higher tempo, and D sounds confident and self-assured, delivering some of the best rap on the album. The tune is a lot more pronounced than in other songs and works brilliantly with D's trademark sound. With no chorus, it's a unique exploit which is pulled off excellently. Flavor Flav's 'Too Much Posse' acts as an interlude, but demonstrates Flav's lyrical efficiency and foresees his excellent vocals on 'It Takes a Nation of Millions'. 'Rightstarter' is the most furious song of them all, and D pours heart and soul into his rap: with speed, anger and a clean finish, the vocals are pitch-perfect and blend fluently with X's scratches. 'Public Enemy No 1' is by far the best song of the album, with a lengthy introduction to a simply epic song. The rap is clean, smart and intelligent, with the simple chorus breaking up D's vocals perfectly. It has a flow unmatched on this album and is an instant hit.
'M.P.E' takes a different turn, and offers something unique but unimpressive overall. The tempo is drawn out, and while this allows D to exhibit his sound brilliantly, and with some excellent vocals, the tune is simply too simple to match the brilliance of preceding songs. The chorus is also tiresome after a while and not as memorable as those in the other songs; nevertheless, Flav shines here, with humourous and clean-cut vocals delivering a welcome change from D's dominance on the album. 'Bum Rush the Show' is another good song, but simply lacks the variety and raw sound of the other songs, while 'Raise the Roof' hits form again with a slick sound accompanying a calm and collected D who raps smartly to the tune. 'Megablast' is another oddball, with a noticeable tempo change and almost a duet between D and Flav. Fresh and enjoyable in equal measure, it's a great song and a welcome change. 'Terminator X Speaks with his Hands' is a fitting end to the album, acting as an extended instrumental featuring X's mix of the sound samples previously used. An ambitious song, it delivers due to its trademark, raw sound.
Unmatched and unrivalled in 1987, and still enjoyable today, this album is all but perfect. 'It takes a Nation of Millions' is so epic that it has left this album in its shadow, but this is an album oozing with charm and slick lyrics. Come and hear the true roots of hip-hop. You won't be disappointed.
Although it was really their second album which had them breakthrough to success, the long Island, New York Hip Hop group Public Enemy as their debut in 1987 to great critical acclaim. "Yo! Bum Rush The Show" was a highly significant release for the Hip Hop world as the group brought Afrocentricity as it had never been seen before in music with their rough, in-your-face approach at telling listeners their political views and such as Chuck D led Terminator X, The Bomb Squad and the hype man Flavor Flav.
1. "You're Gonna Get Yours"
The album starts in a dramatic fashion as after a few words from Flav, you see that Chuck D powers trough with his bassy voice and takes control with it in order to show just how significant their presence is. The production here is relatively funky (compared to many of their other tunes) and so it is bound to pull more people in.
2. "Sophisticated B***h"
Sampling material from Whodini, you see that on this one they come with heavy material where they pound away at the thing as they make a shift in their material to talk on girls who think that they are 'all that' because they would consider themselves to be sophisticated. It is a heavy jam and one which I wouldn't have expected to get here.
3. "Miuzi Weighs A Ton"
With this one you have them jumping on various grooves, including Kurtis Blow's first single; "Christmas Rappin'" as they get down to material which reflects the time that it was released as things were attempting to really escape the pre-1983 Hip Hop in favour of more hardcore material where the delivery of the lyrics has more freedom and they s much more complelxity in the production.
The flows which you get from Chuck D in this one seems to once again get into the same sort of thing which was found just before it as you find that he rhymes in the typical Be-Bopping ways which had slipped over from the Funk years into the early seventies to early eighties Hip Hop whilst he concentrates the rhymes around the impact that they are bound to make here.
5. "Too Much Posse" (Lude)
Classic work from the like sof The JBs, Trouble Funk and Run-D.M.C. is used here and I felt that it seemed to highlight the fact that Chuck D's delivery way reflecting what the latter groups MCs used to come with as they shouted (rather than rapped by this point) and so had much more power in their rhymes.
7. "Public Enemy No. 1"
This one forces you to bob your head along as they get on what I would consider to be the best offering form the album as they come with one which has they working off some fresh beats (and the most impressive synth sounds which had been heard since The Ohio Players' killer "Funky Worm".
The fact that this one used no samples at all and just gets a heavy drum loop running through it is highly significant as it appears to have started a new trend in the Hip Hop world where you can see how little is required to make impacts upon listeners (if the MCs have enough in their voices to do so). You have the first actual rhymes form Flav here (with him just offering spoken word before) and I felt that it was valued here.
9. "Yo! Bum Rush The Show"
The titular track from the album has them kicking another heavy one where Chuck D is seen to jump on top of some weighty beats which really force you to take notice of what they are doing and just what they have come to do as they burst into the game and speak of how they are coming in to take things over with their original music.
10. "Raise The Roof"
With this one they are seen to do exactly what is stated in the title with this one as you have them getting down to one where they hammer away a things and show the strengths of The Bomb Squad in coming up with the most impressive and powerful unique production that you get anywhere. I'd say this one was a bit experimental, but it still worked.
Before you have Terminator X throwing down some heavy beats and cutting up original an original composition, you see that here Chuck D and Flava Flav perform one where they rhyme together in a style which I would have to like to the sorts of flows which Ice Cube gave to Eazy-E for "Boyz-in-the-Hood".
12. "Terminator X Speaks With His Hands" (Outro)
If you would expect to be put off by their work, probably because you'll have heard a few tunes from them in the past and their political rhymes are a bit off-putting, I would recommend this as it has all the power of those later ones, but has them doing things in a much more general manner and not getting too deep into that kind of thing at all.
In my dooyoo opinion 'Yo Bum Rush the Show' is by far the best album Public Enemy have released. This is the first album they had as far as i am aware, and i have bought all of the albums since. I am not saying their more recent albums are no good, but this seems to me to stand out above the rest. I have recently picked this up on CD for less than £8 from Jungle.com as i only had it on cassette. It is even better on CD. I would highly recommend this to any PE fan, or anyone who has got into hip hop/rap in recent years, but has not heard this album before.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 You're Gonna Get Yours
2 Sophisticated Bitch
3 Miuzi Weighs A Ton
5 Too Much Posse
6 Rightstarter (Message To A Black Man)
7 Public Enemy No.1
9 Yo! Bum Rush The Show
10 Raise The Roof
12 Terminator X Speaks With His Hands