Public Enemy: The Evil Empire
Bombastic raps of social commentary delivered with unflinching awareness and accusation is the foundational basis of The Evil Empire of Everything, the new album from legendary group Public Enemy. Chuck D’s ultra-eloquent storyteller/teacher persona is rock-solid when it comes to revolutionary music. His intellectualism and critical ire condemns yet educates and inspires. The formula attracts the very crowd it is inciting as well as the one it is criticizing, making fans of them too. No doubt a tricky task; not many groups have the ability to champion as Public Enemy has. Few tend to realize the true targets of the group’s indignation. It essentially is a warning to everyone who hampers the impending growth of the planet with inequality, bullying, subscribing to self-erasing materialism, class division, racism and hate.
“31 Flavors” is driven exquisitely by Flavor Flav who flourishes over old school hip hop beats with minimal melodies and a simmering go-go beat. Tom Morello executes a wicked series of signature guitar riffs and bends as Henry Rollins begins the intro on the heavy-hitting track, “Riotstarted.” “Don’t Give Up the Fight,” featuring Ziggy Marley, is a call to unwavering action over a ragged host of jagged guitars and afrobeat rhythms. The title track begins with the actual conversation between neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman describing a guy who “looks up to no good.” This is the 911 phone call between Zimmerman and the Sanford, FL police department prior to Zimmerman shooting and killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Corporations, border patrol, smart phones and hip hop are not spared either. Public Enemy formed in the early eighties and consisted of Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff. Throughout the years, the group easily elevated to iconic stature in the realm of music and hip hop analyzing the political and taking it personal.