Public Enemy

While most "Golden Era" hip-hoppers have retired to community social clubs or made halfhearted, half-cracked attempts at reliving bygone days, Public Enemy has kept chipping away at the cornerstone. While on a seeming hiatus since Apocalypse 91, Chuck D, Flava Flav, and newest addition Paris have designed a sound through one simple method: returning to what made them infamous. And for once, nostalgia reigns supreme. Recycled beats and rhymes woven with new perceptions and stellar production make Rebirth of a Nation an overdue gestation worth the wait. Hearing Chuck make Terrordome-type references on "Hard Rhythm" and the upbeat "Rise" reminds one why he was — and remains — a lyrical master. "They Call Me Flava" — for all intensive reasons a modern "Cold Lampin' With Flavor" — features the jokester in prime form. And Paris, a more believable revolutionary than Professor Griff ever proved, is a smart addition to the crew. Rebirth proves that while you can't re-create masterpieces, you can revisit a dream and live it fully in the present.

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