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Public Enemy - Revolverlution Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 July 2002
Slamjamz/Koch, 2002
| Performance 9 | Sound 8 |

Image“Before you get what you want,” Chuck D. explains on “Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need,” “You gotta give the people what they need.” And with these few brief phrases, Public Enemy’s artistic philosophy for the past 15 years can be summarized. This mishmash of remixes, live cuts and spoken words is so darn palatable that it doesn’t taste like any kind of medicine at all. Nevertheless, “Revolverlution” will give you all the health care you need – and then some.

In these days, with the United States forced into unity by the events of September 11, it’s jarring to hear the anti-presidential words flowing out of “Son Of A Bush.” Public Enemy applies heavy metal guitars for a little timely commentary about the younger Bush. On its chorus, Flavor Flav and Chuck D. alternate in calling him out with, “He’s the son of baaaad Man.” Public Enemy, which has rightfully been called the black man’s CNN, has always been about seeing through spin doctor smoke screens in order to get to the unaltered truth. Both “Get Your Sh*t
Together” and “Now A’ Daze” act as wake-up calls, and the latter includes the frightening refrain of: “Nowadays, it’s the ballot of the bullet.”

“Revolverlution” shows off quite a few of Public Enemy’s differing musical sides. “What Good Is A Bomb” reveals how hip-hop can also rock with electric guitars, and then a new take on the classic, “Shut Em Down (The Functionist Version),” receives a particularly techno treatment.

Usually when the music of Public Enemy is discussed, it’s linked to Chuck D.’s angry and informed rants. But “Can A Woman Make A Man Lose His Mind?” is a rhetorical question in song, and rapped by Flavor Flav. It’s lighthearted, like an old Fresh Prince rap, if you can believe that.

This album includes living proof that PE can also pull it off live. “Muzi Weighs A Ton” is from a San Francisco date, and includes plenty o’ scratching. “Fight The Power” was taken from a stop in Winterhur, Switzerland. “By The Time I Get To Arizona (The Moleman Mixx) wasn’t captured in AZ, but a post-concert interview (from U2’s “Zoo Tour,” no less) was, and is included on this disc.

This disc has plenty of ear-catching moments, but not nearly as many as it would have had, had the Bomb Squad still been PE’s resident producers. But as long as Chuck D.’s authoritative voice is coming through loud and clear, as it does here, all is well in Public Enemy land.

“Revolverlution” may not be the kind of aural sign of the times we’ve come to expect from Public Enemy, but this seemingly random spray of bullets still hits multiple marks soundly.

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