If you’ve been a fan of hip hop since day and understand the genre of rap’s origins that involve speaking out for the urban community, than you definitely know why Public Enemy is revered as the most respected, socially conscious rap group in history.
Consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn, DJ Lord, and the S1W group; Public Enemy formed in the mid-1980s in Long Island, Adelphi University to be exact, where Chuck and Flav attended school. Little did the world know that a monumental, game-changing force that would alter music and the mindsets of millions for generations to come was being shaped, during this very time.
In 1987, the group released its debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show. That’s when music critic Simon Reynolds proclaimed that Public Enemy was "a superlative rock band" because of the raw music the group would make. From day one, Public Enemy has always spoke the realness about the trials and tribulations facing the urban community in the United States, whether people liked it or not. The often-ignored people in these underserved communities deserved to have their issues heard and that’s exactly what Public Enemy used its power to do.
In 1988, the group’s sophomore album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, made its debut. But, it was Public Enemy’s third album, Fear of a Black Planet, that showed the world how hip hop had the ultimate power to change society forever. On this album was the track “Fight The Power.” To this very day, this one song is respected as the most powerful song in hip hop history.
The single encourages the urban community to stand up and fight for its own rights against the certain “powers that be,” who are determined to keep it down. The powerful track even became the theme song for Spike Lee’s socially conscious “Do The Right Thing” movie. The song’s music video shows people taking to the streets of Bed-Stuy, where the movie was filmed, to demand equality. There are definite Black Panther and Malcolm X tones in the power visual.
With the Black Lives Matter movement that’s taking place today, which is a mere continuation of the Civil Rights movement, many of Public Enemy’s lyrics can still inspire us to speak up and speak out for a better tomorrow. Take a look at the best "Fight The Power" lyrics that do just that below.