Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#27: "DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE"


PUBLIC ENEMY
"DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE"
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
1988



The second single off of PE's breakthrough album It Takes a Nation, "Don't Believe the Hype" is only the first of five PE songs to hit The Root Down Top 33. "Don't Believe the Hype" is a collosal composition with it's Syd Nathan Pinckney's paint-stripping sax scream, the classic drum break from "Synthetic Substitution," layered over it is Chuck's scatching prose and Flav's boyish antics. Along with the first single released from Nation, "Rebel Without a Pause," it ushered in the new PE sound.


A stark difference from their first album, these two singles bordered on irritation. They were unapologetically confrontative. Chaotic. Dischordant. And unlike "Rebel," which prominently featured Chuck and Terminator caught in typical posturing, "Don't Believe the Hype" was an attack with purpose and precision. Chuck was taking aim at the media and it was a direct hit. Responding to early clashes with the media (whether real or ficticious), Chuck arms himself with three of the most furious verses ever put to record climaxing with the third verse in which Chuck simply goes off.

Whether it's defending himself against allegations or simply lashing out at the "radio suckas" that had long since held an avoidance to hip hop and, even further, PE's harsh realities and instead fed pop fantasies to the masses, Chuck's third verse is a fiery and absolute punishing series of blows.

Leader of the new school, uncool,
Never played the fool, just made the rules.
Remember there's a need to get alarmed,
Again I said I was a timebomb.
In the daytime, the radio's scared of me,
Cause I'm mad, plus I'm the enemy.
They can't come on and play me in primetime,
Cause I know the time, plus I'm gettin' mine.
I get on the mix late in the night,
They know I've living right, so here go the mike, sike!
Before I let it go, don't rush my show.
You try to reach and grab and get elbowed.
Word to herb, yo if you can't swing this,
Learn the words, you might sing this.
Just a little bit of the taste of the bass for you,
As you get up and dance at the LQ.
When some deny it, defy if I swing bolos,
Then they clear the lane I go solo.
The meaning of all of that,
Some media is the whack.
As you believe it's true, it blows me through the root.
Suckas, liars, get me a shovel.
Some writers I know are damn devils.
For them, I say "don't believe the hype."
(Yo, Chuck they must be on a pipe, right?)
Their pens and pads I'll snatch,
Cause I've had it.
I'm not an addict fiendin' for static.
I'll see their tape recorder and I'll grab it.
(No, you can't have it back, silly rabbit.)

Chuck's intent is evident. To liberate the listeners from the falsity of the media giant. To be so freaking gullible and think for yourself. You got eyes to see with, ears to hear with, a brain to think with. Don't believe the hype.

That's all good, you know..."message" and all, but honestly, "Don't Believe the Hype" just makes me wanna dance my col' ass off. It's a difficult balance for such heady messages to also cut the rug. This was rarely achieved in hip hop, but if there was anyone that could do it, it was PE. "Don't Believe the Hype" blends this wylin' sweaty house party bounce along with a hot and nasty pimp strut. This thing col' rocks the party.

I'm going skiing. You're not.