Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’ is re-released

SHARE Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’ is re-released

Got to give us what we want Gotta give us what we need Our freedom of speech is freedom or death We got to fight the powers that be

The above words are a portion of the classic “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy, which, some of you might remember, is a 1980s rap group that delved into socially conscious topics with politically charged lyrics.

“Fight the Power” was used in Spike Lee’s movie “Do the Right Thing.” It also is one of the many hits off the 1990 album “Fear of a Black Planet,” rated as No. 300 on Rolling Stone’s greatest albums of all time.

Interestingly enough, “Fear of a Black Planet” and PE’s other award-winning album, 1998’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” are both being re-released on

Though “Fear of a Black Planet” celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, it’s on sale right now, apparently as part of the “yearlong, ongoing celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the iconic record label founded in 1984 by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.”

It’s also not lost on me that the re-releases (or at least a new announcement regarding the releases) came today, the day after a grand jury found that Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for his role in the death of teen Michael Brown. The record label says they had this planned “for weeks.”

There’s a lot to potentially unpack about the coincidence of  re-releasing these albums at this time in American history. Ferguson is burning. Chicago, Oakland, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New Orleans are hurting. Organizers and individuals are (and have been) fighting the power in many ways throughout the years. Public officials are (and have been) trying to either quell the protests or figure out a way to listen to, accept and then solve the problems.

But back to the music. Obviously, PE’s albums are classics. Obviously, they offer great examples of protest music. Obviously, the albums helped usher a change in music and in society. And not so obviously, the music could very well help bring people to a meeting of the minds in some ways. Or, the music could help settle some minds.

Black music is one of my culture’s greatest exports. And it would seem that a new generation (and some old heads) could listen to these songs and perhaps be exposed to ideas that might not be front and center on CNN or Fox News. Music gets to you in ways that conversations don’t. Music is absorbed. Repeated. Dissected. Even if you don’t share the point of view, you can certainly appreciate the art. That’s the beauty of a song.

Of course, there’s a larger issue here, and it resurfaces constantly, daily. It’s the reason why Chicago’s public schools are still segregated decades after my mother worked to desegregate. It’s the reason why police departments are still sometimes at odds with the communities they ought to respect and protect. It’s the reason why the decision surrounding Wilson is causing so much angst. It’s the same reason why Public Enemy’s music is still so relevant.

These songs were appropriate then and are appropriate now. And if all you take away from them is rage, then you’re not listening.

A full set list is below the video.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (2-CD/1-DVD)

DISC 1 (The Album)

1. Countdown To Armageddon

2. Bring The Noise

3. Don’t Believe The Hype

4. Cold Lampin’ With Flavor

5. Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic

6. Mind Terrorist

7. Louder Than A Bomb

8. Caught, Can We Get A Witness?

9. Show ‘Em Whatcha Got

10. She Watch Channel Zero?!

11. Night Of The Living Baseheads

12. Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos

13. Security Of The First World

14. Rebel Without A Pause

15. Prophets Of Rage

16. Party For Your Right To Fight

DISC 2 (Bonus Tracks)

1.  Bring The Noise (No Noise Version)

2.  Bring The Noise (No Noise Instrumental)

3.  Bring The Noise (No Noise A Cappella)

4.  Rebel Without A Pause (Instrumental)

5.  Night Of The Living Baseheads (Anti-High Blood Pressure Encounter Mix)

6.  Night Of The Living Baseheads (Terminator X Meets DST And Chuck Chill Out Instrumental Mix)

7.  The Edge Of Panic

8.  The Rhythm, The Rebel (A Capella)

9.  Prophets Of Rage (Power Version)

10.  Caught, Can We Get A Witness? (Pre Black Steel Ballistic Felony Dub)

11.  B-Side Wins Again (Original Version)

12.  Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (Instrumental)

13.  Fight The Power (Soundtrack Version)

DISC 3 Fight The Power Live

1.  Countdown to Armageddon

2.  Public Enemy Number One

3.  Miuzi Weighs A Ton

4.  Night Of The Living Baseheads (Live)

5.  Fight The Power

6.  Bring The Noise

7.  Don’t Believe The Hype

8.  Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

9.   Rebel Without A Pause

10.  Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic

11.  Night Of The Living Baseheads (Video)

12.  Prophets Of Rage

Fear of a Black Planet (2-CD)

DISC 1 (The Album)

1. Contract On The World Love Jam (Instrumental)

2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out

3. 911 Is A Joke

4. Incident At 66.6 FM [Instrumental]

5. Welcome To The Terrordome

6. Meet the G That Killed Me

7. Pollywanacraka

8. Anti-Ni***r Machine

9. Burn Hollywood Burn (featuring Ice Cube)

10. Power To The People

11. Who Stole The Soul?

12. Fear Of A Black Planet

13. Revolutionary Generation

14. Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya, Man!

15. Reggie Jax

16. Leave This Off Your Fu*kin Charts (Instrumental)

17. B Side Wins Again

18. War At 33 1/3

19. Final Count Of The Collision Between Us And The Damned (Instrumental)

20. Fight The Power

DISC 2 (Bonus Tracks)

1. Brothers Gonna Work It Out (Remix)

2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out (Dub)

3. Flavor Flav

4. Terrorbeat

5. Welcome To The Terrordome (Terrormental)

6. Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man (Full Rub Mix)

7. Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man (U.K. 12″ Powermix)

8. Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man (Dub Mixx)

9. Burn Hollywood Burn (Extended Censored Fried To The Radio Version)

10. Anti-Ni***r Machine (Uncensored Extended)

11. 911 Is A Joke (Instrumental)

12. Power To The People (Instrumental)

13. Revolutionary Generation (Instrumental)

14. War At 33 1/3 (Instrumental)

15. Fight The Power (Soundtrack Version)

16. Fight The Power (Powersax)

17. Fight The Power (Flavor Flav MeetsSpike Lee)

18. The EnemyAssault Vehicle Mixx (Medley)

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