Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 2xLP


Urban Legends (2023, Reissue)

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 thirty 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.

I couldn’t really tell you when I first heard Public Enemy. I’m sure it would have been on Yo! MTV Raps, but I don’t really know what the first song of theirs that I heard was. What I can tell you, without question, is the first song of theirs that really hit me and made me pay attention was their collaboration with Anthrax on “Bring The Noise.” I loved that song so much I bought that stupid Anthrax B sides record just to get that song. I never listened to the rest of that tape aside from the very first time. I think I had the censored version with the bee buzzing noises where the curse words were supposed to be.

The reason I bring this up is because when I really connected with Public Enemy, the current album that they had out was Fear of a Black Planet. For reasons that I’m not totally sure about, the first record of theirs that I actually bought was It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. And I played the heck out of it, that’s for sure. Ever since I first purchased it, it’s always been my favorite Public Enemy record. There’s something about how aggressive the production is, coupled with Chuck D’s uncompromising rhymes.

I have this on vinyl via the Public Enemy vinyl box set that picked up ten years ago. However that box set, and every other pressing of this album and Fear of a Black Planet, was a single LP pressing. Vinyl Me Please did an incredible double LP version of FOABP a couple of years ago that I picked up.  And since It Take a Nation of Millions… has always been such an important record to me, I thought it was worth the double dip to get a better version of it as well.  I didn’t grab the colored vinyl version or the exceedingly overpriced quadruple LP set that includes all of the remixes. If that fancy one was only double the price, I would have considered, but for $250, that’s a pass from me.

This version that I bought is the standard black vinyl, 180g vinyl version. It really sounds great. Everything is crisp and full, The bass is low and warm, the vocals are clear and powerful. It’s a great version, it’s the best version of the record I would have to think. Is it worth rebuying? I think so, but I also think it depends on just how much you like this record. The version from the box set sounds totally fine, but this one is a notch above in my opinion.

Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back:

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