"Evil Empire of Everything & Most of My Heroes..."When Public Enemy decided to release two albums in one year they made sure to explain that both are one of a kind – completely separate projects standing on their own two feet. But the way The Evil Empire of Everything and Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp unfolds it’s as if nothing has changed. Still in concert with one another are the lyrical diatribes, bold declarations, and revolutionary jargon. The two albums converse, and try to pick up where the other one falls short. Lyrically Evil Empire and Most Of My Heroes is vintage Public Enemy, which in the end isn’t an entirely great thing. Two heavy doses of PE in one year is a bold statement, though these 10 lyrics shed some light on how a double album was necessary.

Get Up Stand Up feat. Brother Ali

Get Up Stand upCommissioning a guy like Brother Ali is a smart move. He’s bold, aggressive, and not the type to bite his tongue. In many ways he’s carrying the torch Public Enemy lit back in ’87, just in a different climate, so the union between the two is perfect. The lone break comes in heavy and hard, and the horn and vocal samples carry the beat back to the old school, which is a comforting place for Chuck to lay down one clean verse after another: [LISTEN]

I ain’t mad at evolution
But I stand for revolution
Enough is enough

Get It In feat. Bumby Knuckles

Get It InThere’s something about Chuck’s distinct, baritone voice that makes it tailor-made for crisp hi-hats and choppy guitar riffs. Here he spits at a slow and steady pace, each punchline striking its target like a heat-seeking missile. Flav picks up the third verse, and sounds like he hasn’t missed one beat, a true one of a kind: [LISTEN]

New dust bowl blues
Back to fake jewels
So i drop jewels

 ‘Catch The Thrown feat. Large Progessor & Cormega

Catch The ThrownHaving Large Professor lay down a beat for this album was the right move. He’s a producer who’s right at the nexus of hip-hop’s past and present, which gives PE a credible guide to jump from one era of rap to the next. Chuck stays pretty consistent – simple rhyme cadences with a straightforward, hard-as-nails delivery. The only issue is whether or not fans want to hear it in that way. PE is trying to resurrect an old style here, and the message may be falling upon deaf ears: [LISTEN]

People say they Kings, plus say they’re queens
If we all don’t eat
What does it all mean?

I Shall Not Be Moved

I Shall Not Be MovedA throwback song in every sense of the word, meaning if they remade Do The Right Thing, this song would be the one Rosie Perez dances to in the opening sequence. The samples are crisp and clean, a departure from the straight grit that can be found on most of the album. Chuck isn’t the same lyricist, and it’s apparent here, but then again it should be expected. He’s old now. PE hasn’t changed and it isn’t about to start now: [LISTEN]

Forget what my name is
Yeah I ain’t famous
Remember Troy Davis?

RLTK feat. DMC

RLTK feat. DMCMuch more Run DMC than Public Enemy on this one, which in the end works to Chuck’s benefit. For much of the album PE is fighting against its own antiquity, when instead they should be embracing it. Here they slow things down to a crawl, and Chuck is able to get some wind behind his lyrics. It’s still crude from a content standpoint, but at this point PE seems at home in the twilight of their careers: [LISTEN]

At the age I’m at now if I can’t teach
I shouldn’t even open my mouth to speak
Real talk raising strong down from the weak

Fame

FameIt was almost a given that Chuck and Flav were going to rear back and take a shot at the music industry. The beat sets the right mood, marching forward with typical PE flare – almost Ruff Rydersesque - and both Chuck and Flav drill in, making sure they let the industry folks know that fame came as result of their lyrical relevancy, not the other way around. Flav sounds great on this one, mouth full of game, and all the time and energy in the world to let it fly: [LISTEN]

Fame is fake cause it fades
Pop the fame bubble
Cause he and she got game trouble

Don’t Give Up The Fight feat. Ziggy Marley

Don't Give Up The FightCommissioning a Marley for a song seems to be en vogue right now. Nas did it with Damian and it rejuvenated his career, and Public Enemy seems to be tapping the same well. The beat is much more organic than other songs with its earthy percussion, and raw acoustic guitar riffs, and Chuck seems right at home. There is a bit of a stylistic gap that both Ziggy and Chuck are trying to bridge here, and although it’s not as seamless as Nas and Damien’s collaboration, it is notable in that they both see the kinship between hip-hop and reggae: [LISTEN]

Beyond the gaze
A Haze hovers over a crowd that disobeys
Staying rich off them so called better days

…Everything feat. Gerald Albright & Sheila Brody

Everything feat. Gerald Albright and Sheila BrodyHere Public Enemy slows things down to a tasteful simmer. Chuck being the aforementioned old man that he is, keeping up with the high octane nature of PE’s past is unrealistic, and maybe even a bit selfish. Slowing things down allows Chuck to take on a more contemplative tone, which puts his oratorical skills on full display. It gets dangerously cheesy because of the sax solo, but luckily Sheila Brody’s sweet vocals cut in at the right time, saving the song: [LISTEN]

Got no swag
But got no love
For something I ain’t never had

Broke Diva

Broke DivaWho better to talk about broke diva’s than Flavor Flav? He’s seen his fair share of them on Flavor of Love, so to hear him tear into them is a welcome diatribe – having him on that show was a mockery of one of the greatest hip-hop personalities of all time. It’s amazing that at 53-years-old Flav can still conjure up the exact same energy he did during PE’s heyday. An effort like his should spark the interest of other producers. Flav needs a solo album. Prince Paul anyone? [LISTEN]

Should I love her or leave her
I just don’t need her
Another broke diva

Icebreaker

IcebreakerThere are a few generational miscues on this album and this is one of them. “Icebreaker” is a posse cut, and with six MCs including Chuck and Griff, it gets a little too convoluted – especially when considering that four of the lyricists are relative unknowns. Each has their moments, but together it listens as one long drawn out lecture. Chuck is the alpha male on this one, and highlights the track, but far too many lyricists on this one: [LISTEN]

Clap them hands and stomp them feet
To more government wars
Good man, bad government