Upon news about the forthcoming vinyl box set from Public Enemy, I was given a chance to review a sampler featuring various songs from the box itself. I was not given the box set to review, unfortunately, so this review cannot be of the box itself and/or the sound quality found within.
I am able to say that the box features the following Def Jam albums:
Yo! Bum Rush The Show (1987)
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988)
Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)
Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991)
Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age (1994)
He Got Game (1998)
The first three albums will be pressed as single LP’s, while the remaining three will be pressed as double LP’s. I really wished that It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Fear Of A Black Planet were done as 2-record sets, due to the length of the albums, with ITANOMTHUS clocking in at just under 58 minutes, and Fear… running a little over 63. The original single LP of Fear… always suffered because the volume was low and thin. While I don’t have a problem with the original pressing of ITANOMTHUS, I think it would be a better listening experience if separated as four sites, although one might argue that that would take away the integrity of the album’s original “Side E” and “Side F”.
As for the sampler, if it is a representation of the audio quality/masters used for the 180g pressings, then fans will be pleased by it. They are not brickwalled or mixed any differently, but each song carries the warmth of the originals. They include “You’re Gonna Get Yours”, “Public Enemy #1”, “Bring The Noise”, “Rebel Without A Pause”, “Shut ‘Em Down”, “By The Time I Get To Arizona”, and many others. The sampler comes off like a greatest hits of sorts but doesn’t go into favored album cuts like “Myuzi Weighs A Ton”, “Timebomb”, “Caught, Can We Get A Witness”, “She Watch Channel Zero?!”, “”Pollywanacraka”, or even a single like “Burn, Hollywood, Burn”. The sampler also uses the album edits, so no chance of hearing the count-in for “Bring The Noise” from the Less Than Zero, the proper faded ending of “Rebel Without A Pause” from the “You’re Gonna Get Yours” 12″, and I’m certain that the version of “Miuzi Weighs A Ton” in the box will not be the one with the extended ending as found on the 12″ single. However, if you’re someone who always wanted better quality pressings of P.E.’s Def Jam output, this will most likely be the best way to get them all in one setting. The release of 25th Anniversary Vinyl Collection coincides with the 25th anniversary of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, in my opinion the best hip-hop album ever made, so whether you were there hearing about Chuckie D. being the burger and the lady being the bun, or if you’re a younger fan who has wanted to fully hear, from start to finish, about the influence and importance of the group, the box has every means of making you a fan and supporter.