public enemy

Throwback Thursday: Public Enemy – Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

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Public Enemy dropped a brand new video and album this week and therefore take this week’s Throwback Thursday slot. The song in question is their 4th single for their 1988 album “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” titled “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”.

Public Enemy were most famous as a setup consisting of the trio; MC Chuck D; hype-man Flava Flav and DJ/Producer Termintor X. They are famous for their “political rap” and made huge waves in the media back in the late 80’s with their (what many had seen as) confrontational music.

Released in 1989, “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” is set as a fictional story told by Chuck D as he is incarcerated in a United States prison and is trying to escape. The song is written to criticise the laws of draft evasion in the American army,

Public enemy serving time – they drew the line y’all
To criticize me some crime; never the less
They could not understand that I’m a Black man
And I could never be a veteran

Public Enemy also criticise it’s prison system with lyrics such as,

Four of us packed in a cell like slaves — oh well
The same motherfucker got us living in his hell
You have to realize — what its a form of slavery
Organized under a swarm of devils

The video shows Chuck D implementing his escape plan by grabbing a correctional officer’s “black steel”.

Flava Flav appears in the song in between verses, talking to Chuck D over the phone whilst he is in prison.

The song’s main sample is the Isaac Hayes song “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymystic“, which is the main piano riff throughout the beat.

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” has been covered and sampled by quite a few artists such as: The Game, Rick Ross, The Pharcyde, Brother Ali and Talib Kewli.

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” was rated 5 mics by The Source magazine and is still available on Amazon.

Public Enemy ItTakesaNationofMillionstoHoldUsBack


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James Kennedy Senior Editor
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