On April 14, 1988, Public Enemy released their second album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” It has been regarded as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time.
Starting in the New York hip-hop scene in 1982, the group composed of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, Terminator X and others slowly built up a following. They released their first album “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” in 1987, which helped usher in the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
“It Takes a Nation” was released with almost no publicity, but sold 500,000 copies in its first month. Its politically and socially charged lyrics sounded liked a call for revolution and change. I can tell you that it scared parts of the government. While working in uniform, I was approached to explain it to the Powers That Be, “because you listen to all that rap stuff.” Me, an expert witness for hip hop. 🙂
It is often considered the group’s best work, and was voted 48th out of Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It helped launch the careers of scores of other groups, and Public Enemy still performs to the day, rapping about contemporary social issues.
And it is one very cool tee shirt.