Public Enemy

Big Daddy is Smooth Word to Muther

musicThere was a trend in the late 80s and early 90s where every hip-hop album contained a track that featured all the MCs taking turns. One by one they'd drop their rhymes in their style and they'd go down the line. One of my favourites was "Down the Line" which appeared on Big Daddy Kane's Taste of Chocolate album and featured Big Daddy Kane, Scoob Lover, Scrap Lover, Mister Cee, Lil' Daddy Shane and Ant Live.

I still know every line in that song. Yesterday morning I went for a run by myself and needed to talk to myself to ensure I was keeping an appropriate pace. I opened my mouth and rapped everyone's part from "Down the Line". The album is 17 years old, but it's the first thing that came out when I started to run.

Big Daddy Kane was one of my favourite rappers because he had this seemingly effortless style and the smoothest delivery in the biz. It made my day when he joined Ice Cube on "Burn Hollywood Burn", a cut from Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet. It was a great song and Kane's contribution nicely complemented Chuck D and Ice Cube.

Here's the video which, unfortunately, had to be heavily censored to get any airtime.

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A Sampling Sport

peMy appreciation for James Brown comes directly from Public Enemy. Sure, I dig a James Brown song or two, I own The CD of JB (Sex Machine & Other Soul Classics), but I prefer my JB sampled by PE.

I mentioned yesterday the dominance of James Brown samples in the Public Enemy catalogue. Thanks to Wikipedia, I put together a list of these samples. I don't think it's complete, but it's a very good start.

Cold Sweat

  • How to Kill a Radio Consultant
  • Prophets of Rage
  • Welcome to the Terrordome


  • Don't Believe the Hype

Funky Drummer

  • Bring the Noise
  • Fight the Power
  • Hazy Shade of Criminal
  • Rebel Without a Pause
  • She Watch Channel Zero
  • Terminator X to the Edge of Panic
  • The Enemy Assault Vehicle Mixx

Funky President

  • Fight the Power

Get Up Offa That Thing

  • Rebel Without a Pause
  • Welcome to the Terrordome

Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved

  • Brothers Gonna Work It Out
  • Can't Truss It
  • Night of the Living Baseheads
  • Nighttrain
  • Party for Your Right to Fight
  • Shut 'Em Down
  • Terminator X to the Edge Of Panic
  • Welcome to the Terrordome

Hot Pants

  • Don't Believe the Hype

I Got Ants in My Pants

  • Don't Believe the Hype
  • How to Kill a Radio Consultant

I Got You (I Feel Good)

  • Contract on the World Love Jam

It's a New Day

  • Who Stole the Soul?

Make It Funky

  • Who Stole the Soul?

Make It Good to Yourself

  • 1 Million Bottlebags

Night Train

  • Nighttrain

Shoot Your Shot

  • Nighttrain

Soul Power, Pt. 1

  • Caught, Can We Get a Witness?
  • Night of the Living Baseheads
  • What Kind of Power We Got?

There It Is

  • Anti-Nigger Machine

This is indeed a sampling sport.

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Great Videos: Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

tvRemember when rock went wussy in the late 80s before the grunge revolution saved the day? During that period of time, I discovered Public Enemy. My brothers will vouch for my love of this band. I listened to them every day, learnt every word to every song and prayed at their alter. It was heavier than heaven.

"Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos" was one of my favourite tracks from It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and I loved this video. It was only played during Rap City, but it was worth the wait. Listen to Chuck D's words, listen to that beat, feel that anger. This was when Rap mattered.

Here are the other videos covered in this continuing series.

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Soundtrack Gems

musicA well placed piece of music in a film can alter the meaning of that song for all eternity. Try and listen to Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" without envisioning Rocky Balboa's run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some will think of Gord Martineau, but most will think of Rocky. Here are my favourite film songs from a life time of movie watching.

The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" from Fight Club - Shortly after that memorable scene when the building collapses, Fight Club bursts into "Where Is My Mind?" and the combination is perfectly haunting.

The Crystals' "Then he Kissed Me" from Goodfellas - One of my favourite scences in cinema is that one when Henry enters the restaurant from the kitchen and the entire scene is done in one take. This is the song that plays during this fantastic scene.

The Geto Boyz' "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster" from Office Space - This song juxtaposed with the white collar life of a cubicle warrior made my day when I first saw it. It's become the feel-good anthem of Dilberts everywhere.

-M-'s "Belleville Rendez-Vous" from Les Triplettes de Belleville - This is a great animated flick with an opening sequence set to this tune. It's catchy, jazzy fun that you'll be singing for weeks.

Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" from Saint Ralph - I've probably said enough about this one already.

Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" from Trainspotting - I could have gone with Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" or Underworld's "Born Slippy", but "Lust For Life" almost seemed to have been written for this flick. Hearing it always reminds me of what a great movie Trainspotting is.

Pearl Jam's "State Of Love And Trust" from Singles - This is another movie with several notable songs on the soundtrack, but this was a song from one of my favourite bands that seemed way too good not to appear on a studio album. How much better would Vs. have been with this sucker on it?

Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from Almost Famous - I had never heard this song until I saw Almost Famous, an almost perfect little movie. Now, whenever I hear "Tiny Dancer", I'm back on that bus singing right along.

Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" from Do The Right Thing - This song and movie made a statement, and it's difficult to imagine one without the other. Always do the right thing.

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Wayne's World - Aurora, Illinois was a thinly veiled Toronto, right? The sing-a-long in Wayne's shitty hatchback to this classic is classic in its own right. Let me go!

Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" from Grosse Pointe Blank - This cool flick also had a number of great tunes on the soundtrack, but none suited it better than "Blister in the Sun".

Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from Apocalypse Now - I don't really need to explain this one, do I?

Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" from Closer - I liked the movie, but when it was over I kept hearing this song in my head. It's chilling and perfect for one of the closing scenes of "Closer".

Michael Andrews' "Mad World" from Donnie Darko - Sometimes a cover of a song is more enjoyable than the original. That's the case for me and this Tears For Fears song. Donnie Darko was a dark gem of a movie and "Mad World" sums it all up perfectly.

The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." from Teen Wolf - Okay, this is a guilty pleasure from my youth. We had Teen Wolf on tape and practically wore it out playing that last basketball game over and over again. "Surfin' U.S.A." plays while Scott as a werewolf surfs on the van and I always thought that was a pretty cool stunt to pull.

Stealers Wheels' "Stuck In The Middle" from Reservoir Dogs - This is a seriously sadistic scene that seems all the more sadistic when contrasted with this silly little Dylan-esque ditty. Try imagining this song without this scene and vice versa.

Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" from Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Sure, this list is a little heavy on the Tarantino, but for my money there is no better director. Kill Bill Vol. 1 opens with this song and Kill Bill Vol. 2 wraps up shorty after The Bride's baby guns her down. Bang bang.

Eddie Vedder's "Man Of The Hour" from Big Fish - I promised myself I wouldn't cry. This song about that man... damn, I can't do this.

Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" from Pump Up The Volume - For a fifteen year old kid, Pump Up The Volume seemed pretty cool. The guy ran a pirate radio station and said cool stuff like "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks" and "eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark". After seeing this movie at the Humber Odeon, I felt like a changed man and Cohen's "Everybody Knows" was my theme song. Of course, all the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.

The Soggy Bottom Boys' "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Are Thou? - I don't think this movie would have been as effective without a tune you'd believe was a hit. I believe in "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" and it made a great movie greater.

Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" from Pulp Fiction - We'll finish things off with a song used brilliantly in my favourite movie of all time. It's one of my ten tracks and I first heard it in this flick. I'm going to spin it right now.

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Link: Brent Runyon’s folk cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”

LinkBrent Runyon’s folk cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” - Those who know me know I know every word to this song and will rap it on command. This is a nice little folksy cover of the classic Public Enemy tune.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Caught, now in court 'cause I stole a beat
This is a sampling sport
But I'm giving it a new name
What you hear is mine."
      - Public Enemy, Caught, Can I Get A Witness

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