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The Rant and Rage of Public Enemy
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Jenkins, Mark
Date: Jul 6, 1988
Start Page: d.07
Section: STYLE

Aurally, "Nation of Millions" is intoxicating; Hank Shocklee and Carl Ryder's bold production will likely prove among the most distinctive of the year, not just in rap but in any pop genre. For their work to pack the political wallop they crave, however, the members of Public Enemy need to think for themselves, not just attach themselves to the thought of whichever black nationalist is currently drawing big crowds. (Public Enemy joins Run-DMC, Jazzy Jeff and DJ Prince, Stetsasonic, EPMD and other rap and go-go acts at Capital Centre July 23.)

Where the threats of Public Enemy, who hail from suburban Long Island, have a theoretical odor to them, Philly's [Schooly D] comes on as a genuine menace, his blunt, profane style shaped by a stint in that city's street gangs: "The aggression I feel," he snarls in "Black Man," "you can look in my eyes and see it's real." The new "Smoke Some Kill" (Jive/RCA 1101-1-J8) is Schooly's latest raw-edged communique' from a world fueled by weed and crack and populated by-to use the most polite epithets in his repertoire-"faggots" and "bitches." An amateur anatomist, Schooly's the kind of guy who's quite amused by recasting "Mr. Big Stuff" into a hymn to the human organ he finds most compelling.

With contemporary hard rock as rigidly predictable as the waltz, perhaps the most entertaining thing about this D is his hostility to rock. Unlike Run-DMC and L.L. Cool J, Schooly has no interest in proclaiming himself king of rock. In "We Don't Rock, We Rap" and "No More Rock N'Roll" (refrain: "no more rock n'roll/ no more {expletive} rock n'roll), he condemns rock, explicitly dismissing Bon Jovi and Cinderella (no argument there) and Prince (whaaa?). Like Public Enemy, though, Schooly comes up a little short in his search for alternatives to white popular culture: His scabrous "Signifying Rapper" lifts its krush groove from Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir."

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