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This interview was recorded backstage at the Brixton Academy on the eve of one of the most significant shows of their career.
In 1988 Public Enemy launched their 2nd album ‘It Takes A Nation of Millions’, and they performed it at the Brixton Academy, London within weeks of the album being released in the U.S.
20 years later, they are back at the Brixton Academy performing the same album, to the same fans. It was an incredible honour to be able to spend an hour with Public Enemy backstage before they tore down the venue. Even Chuck D said it was years since they did such an interview with so many members of the band in one place.
This band have been a major influence in my life, they filled in the gaps in the UK Education system, I wanted to be like Terminator X on stage, the way they marketed their albums at shows sewed the seeds for my music industry hustle, and of course the music was bangin’.
No one has been able to approach the political power that Public Enemy brought to hip-hop. I put them on a level with Bob Marley and a handful of other artists — the rare artist who can make great music and also deliver a political and social message. But where Marley’s music sweetly lures you in, then sneaks in the message, Chuck D grabs you by the collar and makes you listen.
The Beastie Boys
Aside from the fact that Rolling Stone magazine placed them at no.44 in their ‘Greatest Artists of all time’ poll, there is no doubt that Public Enemy are the most important band in Hip-Hop.
They are the DNA to your favourite rapper, they changed the rules in so many ways; they created a new sound, educated the masses, broke boundaries, stereotypes, and influenced millions of kids worldwide. Public Enemy are so much more than just a Hip-Hop act.
Public Enemy @The Brixton Academy, London. May 2008
Shot by Amanda Rose