Public Enemy plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its recording career not only by dipping deeply into its past — 1987’s “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” — during its concerts but also by unleashing a wealth of new music.
Frontman Chuck D tells Billboard.com that the iconic rap group is in the process of finishing up a pair of albums planned for this year — “Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp” during the summer and “The Evil Empire of Everything” in the fall. “They’re twins, fraternal twins — not identical, but they will talk to each other,” D says. “The statement with these albums isn’t so much just within the content but in the audacity of the release, just like, ‘What the hell? Two albums that bookend the summer? What the hell?!’ But we know we’ve got a fan base that’s kind of acclimated and used to albums because we were the first to come along and kind of bring a concept album to the hip-hop marketplace. So we oblige this year by doing not one, but two.”
Chuck D Talks New Public Enemy Albums, Skid Row Festival Performance
D says both albums contain “powerful songs and great collaborations,” including appearances by Brother Ali, Henry Rollins, Tom Morello, DMC, Bumpy Knuckles, Large Professor and more. And though they’re certainly of a piece, D adds that each of the albums will have defining characteristics.
“Maybe in the past one would’ve been an A side and the other a B side, or it would’ve been a long CD,” he explains. “But halfway into making it we decided to have two different aspects, one that dealt with the whole movement of people (‘Most of My Heroes…’) and the other that deals with the situation of everything coming at you at once, like a blizzard (‘The Evil Empire of Everything’).”
The new music will certainly add spice to Public Enemy’s silver anniversary, and fresh off a tour of Australia, D says he’s appreciating the global impact the group has had since “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” came out.
“I think the thing that’s always been the saving grace with Public Enemy is we’ve always traveled to different parts of the world,” he says. “If it was just a one-country thing, I’d be like, ‘OK, where is our future?’ But because we spread ourselves all over the world, over 80 countries in 25 years, it’s seemed like one enjoyable adventure. We’ve never been subject to one country’s standards or hot topics or trends. That’s helped us. It’s been one of the rare situations where we’ve marched to the beat of our own electronic drummer. These 25 years have been really enjoyable.”
Public Enemy continues its celebration on May 27 at the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit and is also booked at the Heineken Open’er Festival on July 6 in Gdynia, Poland.