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Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show

posted on Feb 15, 2006 Public Enemy - Public Enemy No. 1 (Link Expired)
Public Enemy - You're Gonna Get Yours (Link Expired)

Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show

Public Enemy
Yo! Bum Rush the Show
Def Jam, 1987

Public Enemy’s longstanding revolutionary image has led to firm preconceptions about the sonic and lyrical style of its releases and the current critical reflex is to heap praise upon the group for the militant manifestos found in It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back and its follow up. It’s often forgotten that prior to this, Chuck D was the party-rocking, sucka-emcee serving voice behind Long Island’s Spectrum City DJ Crew. It’s this younger, brasher Chuck D who helms the group’s debut opus Yo! Bum Rush the Show along with a Rick Rubin-assisted, still-developing Bomb Squad and the already charismatic Flavor Flav. The hardcore, self-proclaimed “Public Enemies” would drop a powerful drum-driven album that simultaneously turned the page on the early Def Jam sound and pointed towards hip-hop’s future.

The opening funk lick and engine revs of “You’re Gonna Get Yours” are the first signs that PE’s debut features a far more minimal approach to production than the layered style they’d later be known for. Combining hard rock instrumentation and crushing, bassy 808 drum machine programming with choice funk/soul loops, the original PE sound is undoubtedly loud if not chaotic. Tailor made to be blasted out of boomin’ systems and boxes, the group’s approach one upped contemporaries LL Cool J and Run DMC with an even more punishing array of beats. “Public Enemy #1”’s sustained synth line, the orchestral warm-up to “My Uzi Weighs a Ton,” Terminator X’s scratched bass drums in lieu of fills on “Sophisticated Bitch” and the perfect-for-a-political-poster pre-chorus breakdown on “Rightstarter” are just some of the highlights, distinguishing the album from the less imaginative competition without sounding over-produced.

Meanwhile, the vocal interplay between Chuck D’s booming baritone and Flava Flav’s treble is already in full effect, noticeably amplified by the filtered, metallic tone of the vocal recordings. Though Flave contributes, Chuck’s rhyming is clearly the main focus, marrying an oldschool party-rocking sensibility to the more modern shouting style his label was known for. The result is a booming, intimidating flow. While he occasionally throws barbs at causes ranging from apartheid to police oppression, the PE front man’s prime concerns for ‘86 are mostly personal in scope: taking out opponents, bragging about his mic skills and getting fly ladies’ numbers. Boasts like “I’m wanted in 50 almost 51, states where the posse got me on the run” and “U.S. defector South African government wrecker” offer a preview of the group’s future direction but in the context of the battle raps, they serve mostly to dispel “the non-believers” rather than fight the power and take down the system. Chuck’s looser and less structured rhymes more than stand up to those of his contemporaries. Yo! Bum Rush the Show stands apart from the rest of PE’s essential recordings but it’s no less vital an album. On the contrary, it stands up to repeated listens due to its more streamlined musical approach and the lighter subject matter, qualities that make it ripe for a modern revival.

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Comments for "Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show"

  1. SUP LURE…Great article I’m starting to get the feel for your blog…doesn’t leave a bad taste…I’ve always limped behind the crowd when it comes to hip hop and to tell you the truth many albums that people consider classics I have only a vague familiarity with…so A Nation Of Millions really doesn’t mean much to me but…Yo Bum Rush The Show when I heard it in the mid 90s made my fuckin hairs stand on end…its nearly perfect…a cut and paste masterpeice worthy of musique concrete…pure sonic surgery…precise,cold and sharp…I’m glad someone brought it up…keep up the good work

    Bakon of Derivitive    Feb 17, 02:00 AM   
  2. D.J. Johhny Juice did the scratches on that album and he gets no credit. Sometimes hip-hop is so full of shit!

    chuckie chill    Feb 18, 06:59 PM   
  3. On the CD version that I won, Johnny “Juice” Rosado is credited in the liner notes, but without specific mention of his contribution. Rumor has it that the boricua Johnny Juice wasn’t “black” enoough for PE’s militant image so all the credit went to tha half-German/half-Black Terminator X. who looked damn near Puerto Rican himself anyway.

    R.H.S.    Feb 20, 04:23 PM   
  4. that is exactly right! go figure…

    chuckie chill    Feb 21, 12:42 AM   
  5. In addition to the above, it’s been stated in interviews that Johnny Juice scratched on the album because he could nail his parts in fewer takes. Still, I find it hard to imagine Terminator X would have messed up the scratched drum fills mentioned in the review.

    It remains ambiguous regardless.

    Sach    Feb 21, 12:42 PM   
  6. Juice is a friend of mine. He’s also an electronic engineer and former Navy Seal. Dude is the definition of precision. Not taking anything away from TX, cause dude is legendary, but you know, I think PE IS big enough for both of them to get their props due.

    Chuckie Chill    Feb 21, 04:45 PM   
  7. nice article.

    this is the first hip-hop lp i heard that completely blew my mind… above anything. i actually bought it for myself as a christmas present december of 87. best christmas present i’ve ever gotten!! lol

    johnny juices myspace:

    Machiventa    Apr 4, 03:19 PM   
  8. When I was a young’n this album made me proud to drive an Oldsmobile. Sure it was an 88, not a 98, and it was probably a piece of junk to the rest of the world, but when I put this tape in the deck I could yell out “SUCKAZ TO THE SIDE, I KNOW YOU HATE, MY NINETY-EIGHT – YOU’RE GONNA GET YOURS” and all felt right with the world.

    DJ Flash    Jun 22, 06:09 PM   
  9. Juice and TX shared DJ duties on the first two albums.

    Josh-Sam    Apr 18, 02:21 AM   
  10. <urlsWithURL>

    koeqwskm    Jan 26, 11:54 PM