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Public Enemy – What Ya Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down Album Release

By Phjoshua @thereviewsarein

On September 25th, Public Enemy released their 15th studio album, What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? It's their first new album for Def Jam in over 20 years.

A reconceptualization of Fight The Power by Public Enemy with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, Jahi, and Questlove for the 2020 BET Awards in June got things started. The band announced the album with the release of the Fight The Power: Remix 2020 single.

Recorded in June with the addition of new lyrics which represent the global protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more. The music video features performances by the artists, filmed independently to adhere to social distancing rules, protest footage is added into the mix to keep the viewer cognizant of the message. A genius move, in my opinion. How could we not be excited about this album?

(Quick warning, I've included every track, please scroll all the way to the bottom for links.)

Fight The Power (2020 Remix) feat. Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG & QuestLove

The album opens with an ominous message from George Clinton, followed by the thought-provoking tune, GRID. The song is an expression of how dependant on technology we've all become. It's current, it's relevant, and it's classic Public Enemy and guest artists delivering messages we all need to hear.

What Ya Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down (Audio) ft. George Clinton

GRID (Audio) ft. Cypress Hill, George Clinton

State Of The Union STFU ft. DJ PREMIER

The second single, State Of The Union (STFU), was produced by DJ Premier. It's a brutally honest track that confronts Donald Trump and his ruinous reign. It's what we hope for from the band, no punches pulled, a challenge to shitty authority.

The music video includes footage of demonstrations and police brutality, including the killing of George Floyd. Public enemy isn't pulling any punches with this track, it's brutal, and it's timely.

Merica Mirror (Interlude / Audio)

Public Enemy - Public Enemy Number Won (Audio) ft. Mike D, Ad-Rock, Run DMC

"Cultural Institutions are important. Being an integral part of one is an honor bestowed and to uphold. Public Enemy songs are forever sonic prints in the sands of time. And it's time-it's necessary-to bring the noise again from a place called home. Def Jam. Fight The Power 2020." - Chuck D (press release)

I couldn't agree more. Flavor Flav added, "Def Jam is like the house we grew up in. It's cool to be home."

We have to talk about the firing of Flavor Flav. After the fact, they claimed it had been an elaborate April Fools hoax. Flav seemed to be unaware of the plan. Not cool guys. Not cool at all. Flav is an integral member of Public Enemy, and some things aren't funny.

Toxic (Audio)

Yesterday Man (Audio) ft. Daddy-O

Crossroads Burning (Interlude / Audio)

The album includes musical appearances from Ad-Rock, Black Thought, Cypress Hill, Daddy-O, George Clinton, Ice-T, Jahi, Mike D, NAS, PMD, Rapsody, Run DMC, The Impossebulls, and YG & Questlove. Rounding out the project are spoken interludes from Pop Diesel, James Bomb, Mark Jenkins, and Ms. Ariel.

Beat Them All (Audio)

This track is stuck in my head, and that's partly because it's a great song, with a memorable hook, but it could also be because it's turned up as one of my housemate's ringtones. They liked the song that much.

Smash The Crowd (Audio) ft. Ice-T, PMD

If You Can't Join Em Beat Em (Audio)

Go At It (Audio) ft. Jahi

Mark Jenkins - Don't Look At The Sky (Interlude / Audio)

Rest In Beats (Audio) ft. The Impossebulls

R.I.P. Blackat

Ms. Ariel - Closing: I Am Black (Audio)

Overall, this is a noteworthy album. It's old school Public Enemy meshed with a fresh touch. It delivers the truth, to a world that needs to hear it.

Bring back the boombox!

Please support the artists by buying this album, and then continue to stream it.

Public Enemy Links Chuck D Links

Public Enemy – What Ya Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down Album Release

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