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Power to the People and the Beats - Public Enemy's Greatest Hits

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Album Review

Apart from their 2001 installment in Universal's ongoing 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection series, Public Enemy have not been given a career compilation prior to 2005's Power to the People and the Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits. That comp overlooked such major cuts as "Rebel Without a Pause" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," plus it was sequenced in a non-chronological order. Power to the People rights those two wrongs by including all of PE's major songs from 1987-1998 — which doesn't mean it's all their best music, of course — presented in a chronological fashion, beginning with "You're Gonna Get Yours" and ending with "He Got Game." As such, it provides not only a useful summary of their groundbreaking work, it's also a bracing, exciting listen in its own right. Of course, each individual Public Enemy recorded during the last ten years (as of this 2005 release) are worth hearing — especially 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and 1990's Fear of a Black Planet, which are two of the great works of art of the 20th century — but for those who want a quick introduction to the greatest hip-hop group of all time, this fits the bill perfectly. [Power to the People and the Beats was also released in a clean version, containing no profanity.]

Customer Reviews


Young rappers and so-called hip-hop enthusiast should view this album as a treasure. Commercial radio will never air this type of conscious music AGAIN! Just ask Dead Prez.... This is not just an album it is a movement. That's what defines hip-hop from "rap" music. Can I please say it one last time....."CONSCIOUSNESS" for the unconscious "rappers" in the music industry today. If you are under the age of twenty you need this review. So just buy it and LISTEN; If not for anything else at least for the lyrics!


Public Enemy is life. I had all the first 4 albums right when they came out so I don't need to cop this. If you don't have any of the first 4 then you need to get this here cliff notes version and catch up on your homework. Sit up straight. Class is in session.

Flat-out Strong

PE is without doubt THE classic hip-hop voice. All the crap-stars that fill the airwaves and MTV these days should hit their knees every night and thank God for PE, because there would be no room for them and their 'bling and ho's' noise if PE hadn't paved the way. They take a back seat to no one in terms of beat and rhymes, but what has always set PE apart is the content of their music. I can't think of any social/political topics on which I totally agree with them, but their passion is undeniable, and in the end, compelling. Their conscience forces me to respect them, even if I disagree with the message.


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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