Public Enemy

Public Enemy, which shares this bill with the Flobots, is entering new territory with each passing day. Throughout the twenty years since the release of 1987's Yo! Bum Rush the Show, the group has remained a going concern — a claim no other major hip-hop collective can make. Of course, PE's circumstances have been severely diminished over time. As leader Chuck D acknowledges in notes to the new disc How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul!???, he often hears from people "asking when are we gonna put the next album out when they haven't peeped the last five." Nevertheless, the latest long-player is a credible piece of work — musically inconsistent and occasionally susceptible to angry-man-shaking-his-fist-on-the-porch excess, but also smart and passionate. Chuck D doesn't expect to experience the sort of mass success he enjoyed back in the day, as he makes plain in an extended Q&A accessible at blogs.westword.com/backbeat. Yet Public Enemy's still in the game, and that's an achievement in and of itself.

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