public enemy


public enemy
1. a person or thing considered a danger or menace to the public, esp. a wanted criminal widely sought by the F.B.I. and local police forces.
2. a nation or government with which one's own is at war.
[1750-60]

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▪ American rap group
 American rap group whose dense, layered sound and radical political message made them among the most popular, controversial, and influential hip-hop artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The original members were Chuck D (original name Carlton Ridenhour; b. Aug. 1, 1960, New York, N.Y., U.S.), Flavor Flav (original name William Drayton; b. March 16, 1959, New York), Terminator X (original name Norman Lee Rogers; b. Aug. 25, 1966, New York), and Professor Griff (original name Richard Griffin).

      Public Enemy was formed in 1982 at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York, by a group of African Americans who came primarily from the suburbs. Chuck D, Hank Shocklee, Bill Stephney, and Flavor Flav collaborated on a program on college radio. Reputedly, Def Jam producer Rick Rubin was so taken with Chuck D's booming voice that he begged him to record. Public Enemy resulted and brought radical black political ideology to pop music in an unprecedented fashion on albums with titles that read like party invitations for leftists and warning stickers for the right wing: Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black Planet (1990), and Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black (1991).

 Acclaimed as Public Enemy's masterpiece, Nation of Millions revived the messages of the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X. On tracks such as “Night of the Living Baseheads,” “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” and “Don't Believe the Hype,” the strident, eloquent lyrics of Chuck D combined with bombastic, dissonant, and poignantly detailed backing tracks created by Public Enemy's production team, the Bomb Squad (Shocklee, his brother Keith, Chuck D, and Eric “Vietnam” Adler), to produce songs challenging the status quo in both hip-hop and racial politics. The Bomb Squad sampled (composed with other recordings) a wide variety of genres and sounds, including classic funk tracks by James Brown (Brown, James), jazz, the thrash-metal of Anthrax, sirens, and agitprop speeches. Flavor Flav provided a comic foil for Chuck D.

      Comments by Professor Griff to the Washington Times in 1989 brought charges of anti-Semitism, which ultimately resulted in his leaving the group. Public Enemy's open admiration for the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (Farrakhan, Louis) also brought it into conflict with Jewish organizations. While Public Enemy's activism inspired other artists to take up topical themes, the group's influence waned in the early 1990s as younger, more “ghettocentric” performers such as N.W.A. and Snoop Doggy Dogg came to the fore. The group seemed to have folded after Muse Sick N Hour Mess Age (1994), but in 1998 they produced a new album of songs for Spike Lee's film He Got Game and went on tour.

Greg Tate
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Public enemy — is a term which was first widely used in the United States in the 1930s to describe individuals whose activities were seen as criminal and extremely damaging to society. However, the phrase (often spelled publick enemy ) has been used for… …   Wikipedia

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  • Public Enemy No 1 — [Public Enemy No 1] the title used by the ↑FBI in the 1930s to refer to the criminal they considered the most dangerous and the one they most wanted to arrest at any particular time. In 1934 both John Dillinger and ‘Baby Face’ Nelson were named… …   Useful english dictionary

  • public enemy — index convict, criminal, foe, outlaw Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Public Enemy — es un grupo de música hip hop de Nueva York, Estados Unidos …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Public Enemy —   [ pʌblɪk enəmi], 1982 in Long Island (N. Y.) gegründete afroamerikanische Rap und Hip Hop Band um Chuck D. (eigentlich Carlton Ridenhour, * 1965) und Hank Stocklee (* 1966), u. a. mit Professor Griff (eigentlich Richard Griffin, * 1963), Flavor …   Universal-Lexikon

  • public enemy — ► NOUN ▪ a notorious wanted criminal …   English terms dictionary

  • public enemy — n. 1. a government with which one s country is at war 2. a hardened criminal or other person who is a menace to society …   English World dictionary

  • Public Enemy — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Public Enemy (homonymie). Public Enemy …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Public Enemy — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Враг общества (значения). Public Enemy Концерт на Канарах (2007) …   Википедия


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