Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black

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Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
Studio album by Public Enemy
Released October 3, 1991
Recorded 1991
The Music Palace
(West Hempstead, New York)
Genre Political Hip Hop,[1] Hardcore Hip Hop,[1] Golden Age hip hop [1]
Length 51:54
Label Def Jam, Columbia
Producer The Bomb Squad (exec.), The Imperial Grand Ministers of Funk
Public Enemy chronology
Fear of a Black Planet
(1990)
Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
(1991)
Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age
(1994)
Singles from Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black[2]
  1. "Bring the Noise"
    Released: June 1991
  2. "Can't Truss It"
    Released: September 1991
  3. "Shut 'em Down"
    Released: January 1992
  4. "Night Train"
    Released: March 1992

Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released October 3, 1991, on Def Jam Recordings. It debuts production team Imperial Grand Ministers of Funk, which consisted of producers Stuart Robertz, Cerwin 'C-Dawg' Depper, Gary G-Wiz, and The JBL.[3]

The album peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart and at number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[4] On November 26, 1991, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the United States.[5] The album was reissued in July 1995.[2] Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine cites the album as "one of the great records of the golden age of hip-hop."[6]

Background[edit]

The album title refers to the films Apocalypse Now and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

The singles released from the album were "Can't Truss It", "Night Train", "Shut Em Down" and its B-side "By the Time I Get to Arizona" (samples "Two Sisters of Mystery" by Mandrill and a live version of "Walk on By" by the Jackson 5), in which Public Enemy was depicted in the video killing the Arizona governor, Evan Mecham, who refused to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday. The "Night Train" and "Shut 'Em Down" singles are notable as they feature new versions produced by Pete Rock, which are often cited as some of the best hip-hop remixes of all time. "Can Truss It" was Public Enemy's most successful single on the Hot Soul Singles chart, peaking at number nine as well as number fifty on the Hot 100.[7] On the dance chart, "Can't Truss It" peaked at number five [8] and was their most successful release on that chart.

The album also included the thrash cover of their earlier hit "Bring the Noise" featuring Anthrax and "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge" – a previously released B-Side to the "Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya Man" single from Fear of a Black Planet.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau A[9]
Entertainment Weekly A+[10]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[11]
The New York Times favorable[12]
NME 7/10[13]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[15]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[16]
The Washington Post favorable[17]
  • Rolling Stone (10/3/91) – 4 Stars – Excellent – "… attempts nothing short of setting a sociopolitical agenda for the black community... Apocalypse '91 needs to be watched."[14]
  • Q magazine (9/95, p. 132) – 4 Stars – Excellent – "… fine by any but their own Olympian standards … showed Public Enemy ploughing old furrows …"
  • New York Times (9/29/91) – "… hip-hop's prophets of rage … with songs that mix political, personal and promotional statements in quick-cutting, often oblique language …"
  • NME (7/15/95, p. 47) – 7 (out of 10) – "… a more soulful, funkier stew than previously served but there were a couple of fillers […] Good, but not as indispensable as its predecessors …"
  • Spin – Ranked #7 in Spin's list of the 20 Best Albums of 1991.
  • Melody Maker (12/91) – Ranked #21 in Melody Maker's list of the top 30 albums of 1991.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Cerwin "C-Dawg" Depper, Carlton Ridenhour, Gary "G-Wiz" Rinaldo, and Stuart Robertz unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Lost at Birth" (Depper / The JBL / Ridenhour / Rinaldo / Robertz) – 3:49 *
  2. "Rebirth" – 0:59
  3. "Nighttrain" – 3:27
  4. "Can't Truss It" – 5:21
  5. "I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Niga" (William Drayton Jr. / Rinaldo / Robertz) – 4:23
  6. "How to Kill a Radio Consultant" – 3:09
  7. "By the Time I Get to Arizona" (Depper / Ridenhour / Rinaldo / Robertz / Mandrill / Neftali Santiago) – 4:48
  8. "Move!" – 4:59 {featuring Sister Souljah}
  9. "1 Million Bottlebags" – 4:06
  10. "More News at 11" (Drayton / Rinaldo / Robertz) – 2:39
  11. "Shut Em Down" – 5:04
  12. "A Letter to the New York Post" (Drayton / Rinaldo / Robertz) – 2:45
  13. "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge" (Kenny Houston / Ridenhour) – 2:38 {featuring True Mathematics}
  14. "Bring tha Noize" (Ridenhour / Eric Sadler / Keith Shocklee / Anthrax) – 3:34 {with Anthrax}

* "The JBL" is an alias for Keith Shocklee.

Sample credits[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Public Enemy
Additional personnel
  • Anthrax – performer (track 14)
  • Frank Abel – keyboards
  • Fred Wells – guitar
  • Lorenzo "Tony" Wyche – horns
  • Allen Givens – horns
  • Ricky Gordon – percussion
  • Tyrone Jefferson – horns
  • Al MacDowell – bass guitar
  • Steve Moss – percussion
  • Michael Angelo – mixing

Charts[edit]

Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1991 The Billboard 200 4
1991 Top R&B/hip-hop albums 1
1991 UK Albums Chart[18] 8

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c http://www.allmusic.com/album/apocalypse-91the-enemy-strikes-black-mw0000269235
  2. ^ a b Strong (2004), p. 1226–1227.
  3. ^ Imperial Grand Ministers of Funk. Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  4. ^ Billboard Albums: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  5. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 474. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 210. 
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". The Village Voice: November 5, 1991. Archived from the original on 2009-12-28.
  10. ^ White, Armond. Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  11. ^ Hochman, Steve. "Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". Los Angeles Times: 64. September 29, 1991. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  12. ^ Pareles, Jon. Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  13. ^ Columnist. "Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". NME: 47. July 15, 1995.
  14. ^ a b DeCurtis, Andrew (October 3, 1991). "Public Enemy: Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Black : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". Rolling Stone: 661–662. November 2, 2004.
  16. ^ Spencer, Trey. Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. Sputnikmusic. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  17. ^ Mills, David. "Review: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". The Washington Post: g.01. September 29, 1991. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  18. ^ [1]

References[edit]

  • Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  • Strong, Martin Charles (October 21, 2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate U.S. ISBN 1841956155. 

External links[edit]