Soul Strut 100: # 34 - Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

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  • caicai spacecho 361 Posts
    Horseleech said:

    It still plays something like a rock album to me, even though it's obviously a rap record. Something about the density of the samples works like guitars for me.

    So true.

  • ppadilhappadilha 1,897 Posts
    This album is a fucking monster. I was too young to have any real taste in music but my older brother was really into this when it came out. He had the cassette and it became a staple of road trips. From what I remember this was the first hip-hop album to really make a splash in Brazil, probably because the production is so heavy that the usual hard rock/metal heads could also get into it.

    this album also became the template for most hip-hop groups in Brazil. The production down here was still pretty crude so they couldn't match it in that sense, but PE's political message had a huge influence and to this day most brazilian hip-hop still has that attitude. I bet that if you took a poll of which record had the biggest influence on producers and MCs down here, this would be #1 by a mile. It cast a long shadow, and its only in the past 5-10 years that people started doing something different.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    ppadilha said:

    this album also became the template for most hip-hop groups in Brazil.

    Not just in Brazil. For instance, I blame PE for Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Yuck.

    While I'll be the first to scream how incredibly and profoundly hard Rebel Without a Pause hit me when it came out...there was much about Nations specifically playing like a rock album that made it age so poorly, not just in reference to today but pretty quickly after its release.

    PE has fallen off the map for a lot of younger rap fans not just because they sound any more dated than say Rakim or BDK, but because PE's music simply wasn't being played for decades on end. I mean, it seems like I've heard rap classics like say TROY and Electric Relaxation 5 million times a piece...but I practically need a time machine back to high school in order to ever hear PE away from my own devices.

    All that being said, I've grown very weary over the years of hearing the same old camp trying to prop this album up as more than it is. Shit, I used to be in that camp. But no more...at this point, I'd rather see Strictly Business or Criminal Minded getting more love than Nations.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    ppadilha said:

    this album also became the template for most hip-hop groups in Brazil.

    Not just in Brazil. For instance, I blame PE for Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Yuck.

    While I'll be the first to scream how incredibly and profoundly hard Rebel Without a Pause hit me when it came out...there was much about Nations specifically playing like a rock album that made it age so poorly, not just in reference to today but pretty quickly after its release.

    PE has fallen off the map for a lot of younger rap fans not just because they sound any more dated than say Rakim or BDK, but because PE's music simply wasn't being played for decades on end. I mean, it seems like I've heard rap classics like say TROY and Electric Relaxation 5 million times a piece...but I practically need a time machine back to high school in order to ever hear PE away from my own devices.

    All that being said, I've grown very weary over the years of hearing the same old camp trying to prop this album up as more than it is. Shit, I used to be in that camp. But no more...at this point, I'd rather see Strictly Business or Criminal Minded getting more love than Nations.

    All the artists mentioned above took cues from Nation. Pete Rock & CL Smooth, ATCQuest, EpMD and KRS-One responded in kind after Nations.

    Its influence on the game cannot be diminished even if folks didnt "party" to it directly.
    They all partied to it indirectly. And did so for the next couple of years.
    Dont tell me the shrill sound of The Bomb Squad didnt inform Dr. Dre's Chronic Worellian over the top keyboard steez.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Time has proven that Amerikkka's Most Wanted is the Bomb Squad's best album.

  • HarveyCanal said:
    ppadilha said:

    this album also became the template for most hip-hop groups in Brazil.

    Not just in Brazil. For instance, I blame PE for Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Yuck.

    and 'Industrial Rap' in general, unless there was some other major influence on it?

    Also responsible for the entire Britcore / UK Hip Hop sound for a number of years after, that stuff you love Harvey

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Time has proven that Amerikkka's Most Wanted is the Bomb Squad's best album.

    That still doesnt diminish Nations impact.

    Shit...im a Yo! Bum Rush The Show guy myself but Nations is still the shit.

    Limp Biscuit and all that terrible Rap Rock comes from Nations and not Run-DMC/Aerosmith.


  • jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    TimeReactionary resentment after years and years of critical fellation of Good Old East Coast Rap has proven has made it fashionable to assert that Amerikkka's Most Wanted is the Bomb Squad's best album.
    Amerikkka's Most Wanted is like the Here, My Dear of rap: It is the cool answer that is increasingly mistaken for the right answer.

    Old Heads who are tired of hearing the same ten records get all the praise turn salty and contrary because that's what we old people do, and post-internet Young Heads--typically being both ahistorical and competetively obscurantist--reflexively ditch the canonical in favor of the slept-on, and everybody thinks both sides are saying the same thing, and everybody ends up gassing up good records for bad reasons. I mean, Strictly Business is a great fucking record, but trying to prop up workmanlike shit like that in place of something like Nation belies a perspective that is either far too young or far too old.

    batmon said:
    Fuck the kids everybody.

    This changed the game.

  • Have to agree with the above, this album was Year Zero for me hip hop wise at the time and I'd been buying for a few years by then. It was my most played album for the following decade easily and probably my favourite until I heard Pieces Of A Man.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    The many, many, many times I've listened to Nations over the years = baseline.

    The many, many, many times I've listened to Amerikkka's Most over the years = baseline X3.

    The many, many, many times I've listened to Strictly Business over the years = baseline X5.

    Not sure how all the excessive dissertation-level analysis done on Nations is supposed to trump that actual reflection of reality.

    b/w

    "Workmanlike" makes the world go 'round.

  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    i just got an OG of this and the record store dude told me ''play it loud''
    incredible album and a true masterpiece
    mandatory

  • jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Not sure how all the excessive dissertation-level analysis done on Nations is supposed to trump that actual reflection of reality.
    =
    Reactionary resentment after years and years of critical fellation

    b/w

    "Workmanlike" makes the world go 'round.
    Though seldom forward.

    But you know me, Harvey--I'm on some art shit.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    It's all good, James. I used to always call Nations the greatest rap album of all-time. Then I went about 15 years of hardly ever revisiting it. And then realized I was far from alone on that.

  • jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
    Oh yeah, I wouldn't say it's my greatest rap record of all time (between you and me, it's not even my favorite P.E. record, and like you say, is probably the one I revisit least), but I still think--whether or not this is the case with you--that a lot of the criticism/dismissal/downplaying it receives these days is more reactionary and trendy than it is earnest and significant.

    I guess one could argue that the praise it receives is just as reactionary (i.e. there's probably a lot of people who like it mainly because some of all that aforementioned dissertation told them to like it), but I don't know; it seems to me that most of the people who really like Nation have some story as to why they like it that has at least something to do with Nation itself (the sound of it, its message, the circumstances under which they purchased it, the effect it had on their parents/peers, whatever), where most of the people who dislike/devalue it have a story that revolves around how disproportionately other people like it.

  • ppadilhappadilha 1,897 Posts
    I wouldn't argue that it's the greatest hip-hop album ever, especially since that's pretty subjective anyway.

    but maybe it's the most important hip-hop album ever?

    has there been another album that changed things so drastically, or that has had such a widespread and long-standing influence? Is there another album that kicked off hip-hop in so many different countries the way this one did?

    you always hear about Beastie Boys or the Aerosmtih & Run DMC shit being breakout hits, but that just means they were being played in white suburbia. It Takes a Nation was being played in the favelas in S??o Paulo, the banlieues in Paris, making kids want to start rapping and write songs about the places they lived in. This album was the St Paul of hip-hop, proselytizing around the world.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    ppadilha said:
    I wouldn't argue that it's the greatest hip-hop album ever, especially since that's pretty subjective anyway.

    but maybe it's the most important hip-hop album ever?

    has there been another album that changed things so drastically, or that has had such a widespread and long-standing influence? Is there another album that kicked off hip-hop in so many different countries the way this one did?

    you always hear about Beastie Boys or the Aerosmtih & Run DMC shit being breakout hits, but that just means they were being played in white suburbia. It Takes a Nation was being played in the favelas in S??o Paulo, the banlieues in Paris, making kids want to start rapping and write songs about the places they lived in. This album was the St Paul of hip-hop, proselytizing around the world.

    Run DMC Raising Hell was huge.

    Nations even if a whole 'nother animal benefitted from the albums popularity.

    And that was a time where u played Hip Hop albums longer. U could still hear Dumb Girl in '88.

  • jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
    ppadilha said:
    you always hear about Beastie Boys or the Aerosmtih & Run DMC shit being breakout hits, but that just means they were being played in white suburbia.
    I think you're being reductive. It might not sound like much when you phrase it as "[rap] being played in white suburbia," but if you think of those records as "[rap] being played and succeeding anywhere outside of the black American community," it's kind of a big deal, and closer ot the truth of their impact. After that, le deluge.

    In the context you're talking about, Raising Hell is probably the most important rap record ever.

  • Raising Hell was the first hip hop album I bought.

  • HarveyCanal said:
    at this point, I'd rather see Strictly Business or Criminal Minded getting more love than Nations.
    I must agree, those are two albums I actually listen to more often.

    Hell, I listened to Criminal Minded today! Haha

  • every single ride day riding on the subway in middle school there would be at least one dude with headphones leaking the telltale rebel with out a pause samples. that shit was just everrrrywhere

    i think the whole record holds up fine. maybe not in the yon club, but play dont believe the hype etc to a grown folks crowd in philly and they will move on the dancefloor. criticising this record or how it aged just seems like some masturbate in the mirror shit to me

  • asstroasstro 1,752 Posts
    CinisterCee said:
    HarveyCanal said:
    at this point, I'd rather see Strictly Business or Criminal Minded getting more love than Nations.
    I must agree, those are two albums I actually listen to more often.

    Hell, I listened to Criminal Minded today! Haha

    Yo, why you bitin' my LOC thun?

  • RishanRishan 443 Posts
    dollar_bin said:
    Thanks to this album, whenever I walk by a live microphone I find it hard to resist the temptation to scream into it "HAMMERSMITH ODEON ARE YOU READY FOR THE DEF JAM TOUR?!?!?!?!?"




    the intro and sirens just make me lose my shit every time. goosebumps like nothing else i ever experienced. monstrously hardcore

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Rishan said:
    the intro and sirens just make me lose my shit every time.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Do yall consider Rebel Without A Pause a Nation's song or a YO! Bum Rush The Show extension/b-side?

  • DORDOR Two Ron Toe 9,784 Posts
    tripledouble said:
    just seems like some masturbate in the mirror shit to me


    HA!

    :off_the_wall:

  • PrimeCutsLtdPrimeCutsLtd jersey fresh 2,631 Posts
    one of my most listened to albums.

  • batmon said:
    Do yall consider Rebel Without A Pause a Nation's song or a YO! Bum Rush The Show extension/b-side?

    it represents that whole transition in sound and intensity/changing of the guard.

    could never have belonged on that first album

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    batmon said:
    Do yall consider Rebel Without A Pause a Nation's song or a YO! Bum Rush The Show extension/b-side?

    That's a really good question.

    Funnily enough, I saw it as a stand-alone joint and still do, to an extent. Yo!... had already been out for a minute, and the reason everybody was copping the 12" of You're Gonna Get Yours was because this was on the b-side. It was obviously in a different league from the sound they had on the first album, so it never really felt like just something they had lying around from those sessions. They'd taken it up a bunch of levels. Nobody could believe they'd tossed it away as a b-side, and it made sense when it was eventually released as a single in its own right. Equally it made sense within the context of Nation Of Millions..., but because it was so familiar by then, I still consider it to be like the trailer for the album - this is where it's going next.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    DocMcCoy said:
    batmon said:
    Do yall consider Rebel Without A Pause a Nation's song or a YO! Bum Rush The Show extension/b-side?

    That's a really good question.

    Funnily enough, I saw it as a stand-alone joint and still do, to an extent. Yo!... had already been out for a minute, and the reason everybody was copping the 12" of You're Gonna Get Yours was because this was on the b-side. It was obviously in a different league from the sound they had on the first album, so it never really felt like just something they had lying around from those sessions. They'd taken it up a bunch of levels. Nobody could believe they'd tossed it away as a b-side, and it made sense when it was eventually released as a single in its own right. Equally it made sense within the context of Nation Of Millions..., but because it was so familiar by then, I still consider it to be like the trailer for the album - this is where it's going next.

    I dont recall this dropping way after Yo! came out.
    That Black Flames/Bring The Noise single came out afterwards and then Dont Believe The Hype then Nations.

    It saw it as an extension of Yo! An improved sound yet still under that umbrella.

    I think they said they were in the studio right after YO! dropped and was making new shit.
    So yeah its not some lost master from YO! stuck on B-Side.

    And the roots of the Rebel sound was there in Yo!s production. I dont see it as rendering YO extinct.

    In fact Rebel sounded kinda "dated" by the time Nations hit and we got the album. On some simple shrill + break shit like YO.
    Rebel to me was like Nas' Halftime on Nations. Burnt out in the streets by the time the album drops.

    ______

    Like w/ The B-Side Wins Again on Black Steel yet is appears on Fear 2 years later. Is it a Fear song or an extension of Nations?
    Or Dwyck.....?

    Can they be both?

  • but they've said since that they felt Yo! already sounded dated by the time Def Jam put it out and it wasn't grabbing the streets like they wanted it to, and that Rebel was kind of in reaction to hearing I Know You Got Soul and something else, knowing they had to step their game up. It's true about You're Gonna Get Yours only being bought for that.
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