From 1990 Album: “Fear of a Black Planet”…..
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Fear of a Black Planet is the Grammy Award-nominated third album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released on March 20, 1990 on Def Jam Recordings. This album debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 (in the week of May 26, 1990), and was the group’s first highest-charting selling rap album, the album was #1 on the Billboard Hip hop/R&B Albums chart as well.
The album’s musical qualities were overshadowed by a controversy surrounding alleged anti-Semitic remarks by group member Professor Griff. After the controversy had been forgotten, however, the album’s critical reception was generally very positive, with many commentators ranking it equal to or better than the previous album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988).
In particular, critics were favorable to The Bomb Squad’s innovative and diverse production and Chuck D’s songwriting. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music credits Fear of a Black Planet’s atmosphere to the “bunker mentality” of “clashes with the press”, and specifically cites “Fight the Power”, which “bites harder than just about any other track in rap’s history”.
It was ranked 21 in Spin’s “100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005”. Pitchfork Media named it the 17th best album of the 1990s. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums. In 2004, Fear of a Black Planet was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2003, the album was ranked number 300 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Rolling Stone (5/17/90) 4 Stars Excellent “Public Enemy has never aimed for anything less than a comprehensive view of contemporary black America…Fear of a Black Planet complements this ambition with stunning maturity and sophistication.”
Entertainment Weekly “…most powerful rap group.” Rating: A
Q magazine (2/91) 4 Stars Excellent Recommended by Q as one of the five best rap albums of 1990 and ranked as one of the Fifty Best Albums of 1990. “…scalding attack on white supremacy.”
Q magazine (9/95, p.132) 5 Stars “…achieved the near impossible by being every bit as good as its predecessor. The music was Public Enemy’s now-familiar scream but was augmented with a percussive tinge that reflected the ever greater Afrocentricity.”
Melody Maker (7/22/95, p.35) – Bloody Essential “…slower, denser…funky. And it was a masterpiece….It’s beyond perfect, built like a platinum beehive and stuffed with cordite–The Bomb Squad’s last hands-on job for PE before they took on the task of…Ice Cube.”
NME (7/15/95, p.47) 10 (out of 10) “…where do you go once you’ve made the greatest hip-hop album ever? Unbelievably, you consolidate that with an equally splendid follow-up….This time the sounds were softened slightly with flashes of `real’ instrumentation but the content remained as astonishingly tough and intelligent as before.”
Extended & updated info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Enemy_(band)