Public Enemy hit the charts! rap heroes in top 30 for first time in years

Public Enemy have just landed in the charts after being used for the Olympics. Simon Price celebrates this victory!

The rap heroes Harder Than You Think, which features on Channel 4’s Paralympic promotion campaign, is the midweek chart’s highest climber, breaking into the top 20. it’s the first time they have been in the charts for years.

I love the idea that a track from five years ago, which vanished without trace at the time, can have a second life due to the random whim of someone at a TV company.

Chuck D still has the most thrilling voice in the world. When he comes in after Flavor Flav’s bits, it makes the hairs on your arms stand on end.

As a Welshman, I love the fact that they’re using a Shirley Bassey sample.

The structure of it is similar to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”, with the big horn riff, which shows that PE are taking an “if you can’t beat \’em, join \’em” approach to keeping up with modern musical trends rather than just keeping it Old Skool.

But at the same time, lyrically it’s a wake-up call to rap artists and rap fans to snap out of gangsta cliches and to become politically conscious. The verse “Rolling Stones of the rap game, not braggin’/Lips bigger than Jagger, not saggin’/Spell it backwards, I’ma leave it at that/That ain’t got nothin’ to do with rap” is incredibly clever.

It’s a call to arms – “A war goin\’ on, so where y\’all at?” – and like any great rousing recruitment anthem, it has you excited about joining the fight, even before you’ve thought about what you’re actually fighting for.

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  1. spot on Simon.

    and yes, i bought it because you mentioned it yesterday ;-)

    funny to think that this one and their current single (“I shall not be moved”) are EVERY BIT as hard as their late 80s output.

    here’s a trail for the new LP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuLShtmp50s&feature=relmfu

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