Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black

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Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
PublicEnemyApocalypse91.jpg
Studio album by Public Enemy
Released October 1, 1991
Studio The Music Palace in Long Island, New York
Genre Hip hop
Length 51:54
Label Def Jam, Columbia
Producer Gary G-Wiz 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''
  1. "Bring the Noise"
    Released: June 1991
  2. "Can't Truss It"
    Released: September 1991
  3. "Shut 'Em Down"
    Released: January 1992
  4. "Nighttrain"
    Released: March 1992

Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released on October 1, 1991, by Def Jam Recordings and Columbia Records. The album received critical acclaim, ranking at No. 2 in The Village Voice's 1991 Pazz & Jop critics' poll.

Recording and release[edit]

Apocalypse 91 was recorded at The Music Palace in Long Island, New York and produced by The Bomb Squad and The Imperial Grand Ministers of Funk, which consisted of producers Stuart Robertz, Cerwin "C-Dawg" Depper, Gary "G-Wiz" Rinaldo, and The JBL.[1] The album title refers to the films Apocalypse Now and The Empire Strikes Back. It was released on October 1, 1991, by Def Jam Recordings and Columbia Records.[2] The album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart and at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[3] On November 26, 1991, Apocalypse 91 was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of one million copies in the United States.[4]

Apocalypse 91 produced four singles: "Can't Truss It", "Night Train", "Shut 'Em Down" and its B-side "By the Time I Get to Arizona". The latter featured a controversial music video where Public Enemy was depicted killing the 17th Governor of Arizona, Evan Mecham, who refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday.[5] "Can't Truss It" was Public Enemy's most successful single, peaking at No. 9 on the Hot Soul Singles chart and at No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[6] The song also peaked at No. 5 on the Dance chart, becoming their most successful release there.[7] The song "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge" was a previously released as a B-Side to the "Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya Man" single from Fear of a Black Planet. The album also includes the thrash cover of their earlier hit "Bring the Noise" featuring Anthrax.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[9]
Entertainment Weekly A+[10]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[11]
NME 7/10[12]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[15]
The Source 4/5[16]
The Village Voice A[17]

Upon release, Apocalypse 91 received critical acclaim. Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone praised the album's production and lyrics, stating that Apocalypse 91 "attempts nothing short of setting a sociopolitical agenda for the black community."[14] Similarly, Ronin Ro of The Source highlighted Chuck D's powerful and focused lyrics as well as the uncompromising and raw nature of the album.[16] NME credited the album for being "more soulful" and funkier than its predecessors, but also admitted that it includes some filler songs.[12] In his review for Playboy, prominent music critic Robert Christgau highlighted the first half of the album, calling it "Public Enemy's most exciting sustained sequence ever", but criticized the second half for not being as consistent.[18]

Apocalypse 91 was ranked at No. 2 in The Village Voice's 1991 Pazz & Jop critics' poll, behind Nirvana's Nevermind,[19] while editors of Spin ranked it 7th in their list of 20 Best Albums of the Year.[20] Retrospectively, AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine cites the album as one of the great records of the golden age hip hop.[2] The record was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[21]

Track listing[edit]

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

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lost at Birth"   3:49
2. "Rebirth" Ridenhour, Robertz, Rinaldo, The JBL, and Depper 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, and Robertz 4:23
6. "How to Kill a Radio Consultant"   3:09
7. "By the Time I Get to Arizona" Ridenhour, Robertz, Rinaldo, Depper, Mandrill, Neftali Santiago 4:48
8. "Move!" (featuring Sister Souljah)   4:59
9. "1 Million Bottlebags"   4:06
10. "More News at 11" Drayton Jr., Rinaldo, and Robertz 2:39
11. "Shut 'Em Down"   5:04
12. "A Letter to the New York Post" Drayton Jr., Rinaldo, Robertz 2:45
13. "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge" (featuring True Mathematics) Kenny Houston, Ridenhour 2:38
14. "Bring tha Noize" Ridenhour, Eric Sadler, Keith Shocklee, Anthrax 3:34
Total length: 51:54

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]

Chart (1991) Peak position
US Billboard 200[3] 4
Top R&B Albums[3] 1
UK Albums Chart[22] 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (CD booklet). Public Enemy. New York: Def Jam, Columbia. 1991. CK #47374. 
  2. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black – Public Enemy". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black – Public Enemy — Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-04-21. 
  4. ^ "American album certifications – Public Enemy". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  5. ^ Serpick, Evan (2011-11-10). "Public Enemy Look Back at 20 Years of 'By the Time I Get to Arizona'". Spin. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 474. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 210. 
  8. ^ Pareles, Jon (1991-09-29). "RECORDINGS VIEW; Hip-Hop's Prophets of Rage Make Noise Again". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-01-09. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  9. ^ Kot, Greg (1991-10-11). "Rockers Get Caught In The Crossroads". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  10. ^ White, Armond (1991-09-27). "Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Black". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2016-01-09. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  11. ^ Hochman, Steve (1991-09-29). "Maturity Wins Out in Enemy's Latest Public Confrontation; Public Enemy: 'Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Back', Def Jam/Columbia". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  12. ^ a b "Public Enemy: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". NME: 47. 1995-07-15. 
  13. ^ "Public Enemy: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". Q (108): 132. September 1995. 
  14. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony (1991-10-03). "Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Black". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-01-14. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  15. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 661–662. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  16. ^ a b Ro, Ronin (December 1991). "Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black". The Source (27): 55. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (1991-11-05). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 1991). "Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". Playboy. Archived from the original on 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  19. ^ "The 1991 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 1992-03-03. Archived from the original on 2016-01-02. Retrieved 2016-07-28. 
  20. ^ "20 Best Albums of the Year". Spin. 7 (9): 68. December 1991. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  21. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (2006-02-07). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 
  22. ^ "UK albums charts – Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 

External links[edit]