For my money, even after all these years, the greatest Hip-Hop album ever is It takes A Nation Of Millions. No album that was that dope has ever mattered that much socially. Public Enemy has gone through its ups and downs and you already know about Flavor Flav and his many misadventures. Well the band’s back together and they once again wage war against the ills of American society on their latest disc, Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp.
Chucks voice has tailed off a bit, with his trademarked boom, reduced a bit and possessed of a raspy timbre in the rear. It’s still aggressive, just not the sublime bullhorn it once was. For at least this album, the Bomb Squad continuity has been replaced by tracks from outside producers. The result is a drifting collection of songs that are lyrically conscious but musically unbalances and a disharmony between Chucks boom and pound and the music.
The album is compact at 11 tracks and 49 minutes. There are also more guest appearances than you might expect from Public Enemy album. The mighty DMC returns to the mic on “RLTK,” on a track that features some 808 elements associated with Run DMC’s early music. Although the voice we know and love is gone, he manages a strong performance and there may be a life after that musical death. Also in full effect is Cormega, who lights up “Catch The Thrown.” Mega rocks a solid flow and a tighter delivery, closing with a scathing shot at George Zimmerman.
Indie conscious emcee Brother Ali probably has the smoothest verse on the record with his contribution to “Get Up Stand Up.” By contrast, Bumpy Knuckles hops on “Get It In” and goes extra rugged. The song is notable for Flavor Flav’s anchor verse which closes with a prison bid and someone trying to “get it in.” *Vomits.
There are tons of vitamins and minerals on the album but sonically it’s far from the historic heights of PE’s earlier work. There are many times where Chuck D is off beat and occasionally it’s by design but it just doesn’t sound good when it happens. You can always count on the crew to sound the alarm but what made them special was that they had the biggest sound and the hardest rhymes asode from trying to teach. That force is just not there on this album. Cool for a few listens, but not enough to spark the revolution. Hopefully it’s just a style attempt gone awry.
2.75 Out of 5
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