By: Zach Draves
They fought the power.
They welcomed us to the terrordome.
Now they are delivering the state of the union.
Hip Hop’s most seminal political group Public Enemy is back with their new album What You Gonna Do When they Grid Goes Down.
From track to track, Chuck D and Flava Flav’s blend of old school samples with new futuristic sounds harken back to the glory days while remaining relevant to the current times.
It continuously follows the pattern they created at the beginning.
They round up other legendary voices in Run DMC, Cypress Hill, and George Clinton to make the journey down nostalgic lane complete.
Now some are probably thinking, what does this have to do with sports?
Well, if you know anything about Public Enemy, you would acknowledge that they are sports enthusiasts, especially Chuck D.
Growing up in Long Island, he immersed himself in sports culture. As he came of age, he developed a strong social consciousness that never conflicted with his love of the game.
He idolized the likes of Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, and Tommie Smith, and John Carlos.
In many ways, he is to rap what they were to sports: unapologetic black men who held their ground and weren’t the least bit reluctant to speak truth to power.
Chuck also took many of his cues from famed broadcaster Marv Albert, modeling the tone of his voice and delivery off the longtime TNT legend.
That work enabled Chuck to become one of the most prominent MCs and one of the most sought-out narrators for sports documentaries.
Still Active Today
Fast forward to the present. Chuck became a strong supporter of Colin Kaepernick when Kap first took a knee during the anthem.
Also, he called for a boycott of the NFL until someone signed the activist quarterback.
Chuck is also one of the New York Knicks’ biggest fans through the bright and, now, downright ugly times.
Chuck’s love for sports in his knowledge of history, the teams/athletes he identifies with, and his outspoken social commentary sum up his life, making him a relatable and beloved figure beyond the world of hip-hop.
True to form, he and Public Enemy have not wavered in their mission to use their music for social change.
This new album is quintessential PE, appealing to both the diehards and those who are just discovering their genius.
They can still Bring the Noise.