S1W (group) - Legacy

Legacy

Terminator X's innovative scratching tricks can be heard on the songs "Rebel Without a Pause,", "Night of the Living Baseheads" and "Shut 'Em Down". The Bomb Squad offered up a web of innovative samples and beats. Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine declared that PE "brought in elements of free jazz, hard funk, even musique concrète, via producing team the Bomb Squad, creating a dense, ferocious sound unlike anything that came before."

Public Enemy made contributions to the hip-hop world with political, social and cultural consciousness; which infused itself into skilled and poetic rhymes, using raucous sound collages as a foundation. Public Enemy developed a strong pro-Black political stance. Before PE, politically motivated hip-hop was defined by a few tracks by Ice-T, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and KRS-One. Other politically motivated opinions were shared by prototypical artists Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets. PE was a revolutionary hip-hop act, basing an entire image around a specified political stance. With the successes of Public Enemy, many hip-hop artists began to celebrate Afrocentric themes, such as Kool Moe Dee, Gang Starr, X Clan, Eric B. & Rakim, Queen Latifah, the Jungle Brothers, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Public Enemy was one of the first hip-hop groups to do well internationally. PE changed the Internet's music distribution capability by being one of the first groups to release MP3-only albums, a format virtually unknown at the time.

Public Enemy helped to create and define "rap metal" by collaborating with New York thrash metal outfit Anthrax in 1991. The single "Bring the Noise" was a mix of semi-militant black power lyrics, grinding guitars, and sporadic humor. The two bands, cemented by a mutual respect and the personal friendship between Chuck D and Anthrax's Scott Ian, introduced a hitherto alien genre to rock fans, and the two seemingly disparate groups toured together. Flavor Flav's pronouncement on stage that "They said this tour would never happen" (as heard on Anthrax's Live: The Island Years CD) has become a legendary comment in both rock and hip-hop circles. Rock guitarist Vernon Reid (of Living Colour) contributed to Public Enemy's recordings, and PE sampled Slayer's "Angel of Death" half-time riff on "She Watch Channel Zero?!"

Members of the Bomb Squad produced or remixed works for other acts, like Bell Biv DeVoe, Ice Cube, Vanessa Williams, Sinéad O'Connor, Blue Magic, Peter Gabriel, L.L. Cool J, Paula Abdul, Jasmine Guy, Jody Watley, Eric B & Rakim, Third Bass, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, and Chaka Khan. According to Chuck D, "We had tight dealings with MCA Records and were talking about taking three guys that were left over from New Edition and coming up with an album for them. The three happened to be Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe, later to become Bell Biv DeVoe. Ralph Tresvant had been slated to do a solo album for years, Bobby Brown had left New Edition and experienced some solo success beginning in 1988, and Johnny Gill had just been recruited to come in, but had come off a solo career and could always go back to that. At MCA, Hiram Hicks, who was their manager, and Louil Silas, who was running the show, were like, 'Yo, these kids were left out in the cold. Can y'all come up with something for them?' It was a task that Hank, Keith, Eric, and I took on to try to put some kind of hip-hop-flavored R&B shit down for them. Subsequently, what happened in the four weeks of December was that the Bomb Squad knocked out a large piece of the production and arrangement on Bell Biv DeVoe's three-million selling album Poison. In January, they knocked out Fear of a Black Planet in four weeks, and PE knocked out Ice Cube's album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted in four to five weeks in February." They have also produced local talent such as Son of Bazerk, Young Black Teenagers, Kings of Pressure, and True Mathematics—and gave producer Kip Collins his start in the business.

Poet and hip-hop artist Saul Williams uses a sample from Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome" in his song "Trigger" on the Niggy Tardust album. He also used a line from the song in his poem, amethyst rocks.

Public Enemy's brand of politically & socially conscious hip hop has been a direct influence on new hip hop artists such as The Cornel West theory.

The Manic Street Preachers track "Repeat (Stars And Stripes)" is a remix of the band's own anti-monarchy tirade by Public Enemy production team The Bomb Squad of whom James Dean Bradfield and Richey Edwards were big fans. The song samples "Countdown to Armageddon" from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. The band had previously sampled Public Enemy on their 1991 single Motown Junk.

The influence of the band goes largely beyond hip-hop as the group was cited by artists as diverse as Autechre (selected in the All Tomorrow's Parties (music festival) in 2003), Nirvana (It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back being cited by Kurt Cobain among his favorite albums), Nine Inch Nails (mentioned the band in Pretty Hate Machine credits), Björk (included Rebel Without a Pause in her The Breezeblock Mix in July 2007), Tricky (did a cover of Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos and appears in Do You Wanna Go Our Way ??? video), Prodigy (included Public Enemy No. 1 in The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One), Ben Harper, Underground Resistance (cited by both Mad Mike and Jeff Mills), Orlando Voorn, M.I.A., Amon Tobin, Mathew Jonson and Aphex Twin (Welcome To The Terrordome being the first track played after the introduction at the Coachella festival in April 2008).

In September 2009, VH1 aired a show called "100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs" where Public Enemy earned the number one spot with their hit song, Fight the Power.

In December 2012, the group was announced as one of the inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for its 2013 class.

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