Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses 2xLP


Def Jam (1992)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

This album came out at the very height of my obsession with Public Enemy.  After buying Apocalypse '91 at the K-mart by my dad's house, I was pretty convinced PE could do no wrong.  After I picked up Greatest Misses, I figured that I was wrong.  I think this record might have been my first experience with a band I loved putting out a record that didn't connect with me.  At the very least, it's the first one that I can remember.

I was really angry about this one at the time.  I wrote a review of it in my high school newspaper and while I don't really remember what I said, I'm pretty sure it was quite negative.  And that was the last Public Enemy record I ever bought.  I didn't hear 1994's Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age until many, many years later.  Listening to the record today, I'm not sure what turned me off so strongly.

Is it as good as any of the four Public Enemy records that came out before it?  No, not even close.  It's a distant fifth place, but it's not really that bad.  It's a weak Public Enemy record, but it's still a reasonably solid hip hop record overall.  Sure, "Get Off MyBack" is pretty bad, but "Hazy Shade of Criminal" is kind of great and I don't think would have been out of place on Apocalypse '91.  

The rest of the of the new songs (six in total) are fine for the most part.  Solid beats and great rhyming by Chuck D.  The other six songs are remixes.  Half are just fine, half are OK.  Nothing unmissable, but certainly nothing worth getting angry over in 1992.  The big miss is not including the Pete Rock remix of "Shut 'Em Down."  It's not on the vinyl version at all and on the CD there's just a live version of it that's pretty questionable, sound quality-wise.  Had they included that, I think it would have beefed up an album that isn't exactly essential is still a pretty fun listen.

Public Enemy - Greatest Misses:

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