The most influential and controversial rap group of the 80s performs on the 20th anniversary of their seminal album Fear of a Black Planet, with two rising and equally political new comers.
Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap groups of all time. Public Enemy pioneered a variation of rap that was revolutionary. With his powerful, authoritative baritone, co-founder Chuck D rhymed about all kinds of social problems, particularly those plaguing the Black community, often condoning revolutionary tactics and social activism. In the process, he directed hip-hop toward an explicitly self-aware, Pro-Black consciousness. Musically, Public Enemy were just as revolutionary, creating dense soundscapes that relied on avant-garde cut-and-paste techniques, unrecognizable samples, piercing sirens, relentless beats, and deep funk. It was chaotic and invigorating music, made all the more intoxicating by Chuck D’s forceful vocals and the absurdist raps of his comic foil Flavor Flav. Today, Public Enemy celebrates the twentieth anniversary of their classic, influential album Fear of a Black Planet.
Ghanaian hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador uses rousing horns and clever beats that make him impossible to take lightly. Alongside his band, The Embassy Ensemble, Blitz tests the limits of hip-hop with live instruments and heavily complex, cross-cultural musical exploration.
DJ Kool Herc is considered by many to be the first hip-hop DJ. In the early stages of hip-hop music, DJ Kool Herc brought his sound system to block parties in the Bronx and began playing the brief rhythmic sections of records which would become known as “breaks.” Using the two turntable set-up of the disco DJs, Kool Herc’s style led to the use of two copies of the same record to elongate the break. This breakbeat DJing, using hard funk, rock, and records with Latin percussion, formed the basis of hip-hop music. DJ Kool Herc’s music along with his announcements to his dancers, called b-boys and b-girls, helped pave the way to what everyone now knows as rapping.
In an age of disposable, cookie cutter acts, The 7th Octave offers up a different musical and lyrical perspective, combining metal riffs and blistering instrumentation with fiery, socially aware lyrics to provoke the minds of the new millennium generation.
Part of the NY Revolutions series.