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After an artist releases a classic album – or in the case of Public Enemy – several classic albums, the fans of those records always return to their future releases with the hopes that they can still capture that old magic. While P.E. has had a misstep or two throughout the span of their 25+ year career, they’ve always managed to bang out a few cuts that re-ignite those in-the-hour-of-chaos fires. It’s been five years since the release of their last album, How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?, and they return with the first of a two album set, Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamps, to be followed-up shortly with The Evil Empire of Everything.

While the dream of seeing another album produced entirely by the brothers Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz seems less and less likely with each release, there are some tracks here that capture the essence of the early years. “Run Til It’s Dark”, which kicks the album off, is a noisy, DJ Lord propelled gem, with plenty of the group’s trademark change-ups, easily making longtime fans feel right at home. The same can be said for the pair of G-Wiz bangers, “Get Up, Stand Up”, which includes a memorable verse from Brother Ali, and “I Shall Not Be Moved”, which moves with funky guitar licks. Z-Trip also appears to lend his production and turntablism to the full-bodied “Most Of My Heroes Still….”, showing clear influence from P.E. in his own sound.

Many legends also came out to support P.E., who usually stray away from heavy guest appearance driven albums. Severely underrated producer Sam Sever returns to the game with the mellow head-nodder “Truth Decay”, while Large Professor and Cormega appear on “Catch The Thrown” – an obvious flip on last year’s most popular major label rap album. The Rick Rubin-inspired “Rltk” finds Chuck and a damaged-voiced DMC trading lines over Yo! Bum Rush The Show era 808′s, as Chuck spits with 80′s b-boy swagger, “My name is Chuck D, I got Tea Party beef.” Lyrically, Chuck D is still in top form.

As an album, it can be hit and miss. The more rock driven tracks such as “Hoover Music” and “WTF” seem to keep the whole rock/rap mash-up sound in play (and let’s not forget these guys helped pioneer it with Anthrax in ’91), however most P.E. die-hards will tell you they prefer the group’s apocalyptic, chaotic sample collages over anything they ever did with a live band. The team of producers give the album a bit of an uneven sound, something we’re not used to when spoiled by their early catalog. However the flow of the album is well done with it’s classically styled interludes.

But this is only half of the picture, as Chuck refers to this album is merely the “A-Side”, which will be continued on The Evil Empire Of Everything, as this album only clocks in at 48 minutes. The glory years may be behind them, but Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp does a good job of reminding us of them, at times.

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3 Responses to "Public Enemy – “Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp” – @@@1/2 (Review)"
  • KC says:

    Good review – spot on with the rating. But all 3.5s aren’t equal – this made me happier than a normal 3.5 would, because it was nice to see the gems are still there.

  • Green Django says:

    An album I’d love to listen to and be proud of it, tell all about how great it is, burn copies, share it all over the place but sadly, it’s just not that type, people aren’t very excited about a new PE album as they would be about say a new RAGE album

  • Brad says:

    Still love PE. Solid album. I think they deserve huge credit for proving without doubt that old people can make good hip hop.

    Two criticisms –
    1. Chuck doesn’t seem that interested in having a strong rhythm in his flow any more like back in the day, obviously a conscious decision, I think it’s the wrong one
    2. It’s great Flav is alive and kicking and an active part of PE, but he just seems to be dialling in his recorded performances. He hasn’t had a memorable ad lib in years. How hard can it be? He just needs to find a few classic lines from any cult TV or movies and twist them around a bit.

    Other than that bring on Evil Empire!

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