Song of the Day #3,174: ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ – Public Enemy

I’m traveling back in time to 1990 again this week, with better results, I hope. Last week’s batch of critically-acclaimed albums leaned toward the loud and anti-melodic. Was this pop culture’s reaction to the Reagan years?

Kicking off this week is another loud and anti-melodic album, but one from a group I admire and at least occasionally enjoy. Public Enemy followed up their seminal 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back with Fear of a Black Planet, another burst of righteous defiance.

Best known for the classic track ‘Fight the Power,’ this album received widespread critical acclaim even as it stoked controversy. Today’s track, the album’s second single, was called anti-semitic for lines about the “so-called chosen.” This was also the band’s first album since Professor Griff departed after a firestorm over comments that were indeed anti-semitic.

These controversies feel a bit quaint 28 years later, when elected officials say far more offensive things on a daily basis.

[Chuck D]
I got so much trouble on my mind
Refuse to lose
Here’s your ticket
Hear the drummer get wicked
The crew to you to push the back to Black
Attack so I sack and jack then slapped the Mac
Now I’m ready to mic it
(You know I like it) huh
Hear my favoritism roll “Oh”
Never see a brother like me go solo
Laser, anesthesia, maze ya
Ways to blaze your brain and train ya
The way I’m living, forgiven what I’m giving up
X on the flex, hit me now
I don’t know about later
As for now, I know how to avoid the paranoid
Man, I’ve had it up to here
Gear I wear got ’em going in fear
Rhetoric said and read just a bit ago
Not quitting, though signed the hard rhymer
Work to keep from getting jerked
Changing some ways to way back in the better days
Raw metaphysically bold, never followed a code
Still dropped a load
Never question what I am, God knows
Cause it’s coming from the heart
What I got better get some
Get on up, hustler of culture
Snake bitten, been spit in the face
But the rhymes keep fitting
Respect’s been given’, how’s ya living
Now I can’t protect a paid off defect
Check the record and reckon an intentional wreck
Played off as some intellect
Made the call, took the fall, broke the laws
Not my fault that they’re falling off
Known as fair square throughout my years
So I growl at the living foul
Black to the bone my home is your home
But welcome to the Terrordome

[Verse 2]
Subordinate terror, kicking off an era
Cold delivering pain
My ’98 was ’87 on a record yo
So now I go Bronco
(Oh-oh Chuck, they out to get us, man!
Oh-oh-oh Chuck, they out to get us, man!
Yo, we gotta dust these boys off!)
Crucifixion ain’t no fiction
So-called chosen frozen
Apology made to whoever pleases
Still they got me like Jesus
I rather sing, bring, think, reminisce
‘Bout a brother while I’m in sync
Every brother ain’t a brother cause a color
Just as well could be undercover
Backstabbed, grabbed a flag from the back of the lab
Told a Rab get off the rag
Sad to say I got sold down the river
Still some quiver when I deliver
Never to say I never knew or had a clue
Word was Herb, plus hard on the boulevard
Lies, scandalizin’, basing
Traits of hate who’s celebrating with Satan?
I rope-a-dope the evil with righteous
Bobbing and weaving and let the good get even
C’mon down
But welcome to the Terrordome

[Verse 3]
Caught in the race against time, the pit and the pendulum
Check the rhythm and rhymes while I’m bending ’em
Snakes blowing up the lines of design
Trying to blind the science I’m sending ’em
How to fight the power, cannot run and hide
But it shouldn’t be suicide
In a game, a fool without the rules
Got a hell of a nerve to just criticize
Every brother ain’t a brother cause a Black hand
Squeezed on Malcolm X the man
The shooting of Huey Newton
From a hand of a Nig who pulled the trig

[Verse 4]
It’s weak to speak and blame somebody else
When you destroy yourself
First nothing’s worse than a mother’s pain
Of a son slain in Bensonhurst
Can’t wait for the state to decide the fate
So this jam I dedicate
Places with the racist faces
Example of one of many places
The Greek weekend speech I speak
From a lesson learned in Virginia (Beach)
I don’t smile in the line of fire, I go wildin’
But it’s on bass and drums and even violins
Whatcha do getcha head ready
Instead of getting physically sweaty
When I get mad, I put it down on a pad
Give ya something that ya never had
Controlling, fear of high rolling
God bless your soul and keep living
Never allowed, kicking it loud
Dropping a bomb, brain game, intellectual Vietnam
Move as a team, never move alone
But welcome to the Terrordome

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,174: ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’ – Public Enemy

  1. Dana says:

    While I appreciate the force behind “Fight the Power,” I find the intensity of Public Enemy a bit too much for everyday consumption.

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