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It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

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Editors’ Notes

“Bass! How low can you go?” Chuck D. roars at the outset of It Takes A Nation of Millions. This explosive rallying cry, which was both a call to celebratory musical troublemaking and a reminder of the plight of thousands of “baseheads” enslaved by crack cocaine, would reverberate in the work of a generation of emcees. The stark dualism of this opening line serves as a neat summary of It Takes A Nation of Millions: a party with a purpose, a musical assault on the minds and bodies of American youth. Though Public Enemy had proven their hip-hop mettle the year before with the clamorous Jeep beats of their debut, Yo! Bum Rush The Show, It Takes A Nation of Millions was a beast of an entirely different stripe. On track after track Chuck D. spits fiery polemics over the Bomb Squad’s bewilderingly abrasive beats, his lyrics made up of equal parts original insight and erudite quotations, just as the Bomb Squad’s sonic collages made use of Maceo Parker’s junkyard squeals and Terminator X’s frantic turntablism. A statement of immense power and lasting influence, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back belongs in every music collection.

Customer Reviews

Best Rap Album Ever

Public Enemy are amazing there is no doubt about it. This is overall in my opinion the best rap album ever. I listen to a lot of rock I will admit but this band has something to say and at least it is not about bootys and breasts. Their message is loud and clear Chuck D and Flava Flav want to Bring the Noise with a amazing and controversial message. Best Rap Album Ever plain and simple.

The best rap album ever

That's all there is to say. This album did so much for music, it is one of the best albums ever. All the songs are great, "Party for your right to fight" is the best track on this magnificant peice of work. It's the best rap album of all time......and that's all there is to say

More than nice.

Easily one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Ranking may seem stupid, but this record engenders all the qualities of a genre masterpiece. GENRE masterpiece. More influential than almost any other rap crew, 'Takes a Nation' stands out as the single most influential of all their works. Chuck D defined concious lyricism and brings power where power is most needed. Catchy beats that you'll be humming for days is what keeps these dudes and their message in the back of your minds forever.


Formed: 1982 in Garden City, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap group of the late '80s and, for many, the definitive rap group of all time. Building from Run-D.M.C.'s street-oriented beats and Boogie Down Productions' proto-gangsta rhyming, Public Enemy pioneered a variation of hardcore rap that was musically and politically revolutionary. With his powerful, authoritative baritone, lead rapper Chuck D rhymed about all kinds of social problems, particularly those plaguing...
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