BOOK’S JOOK: Public Enemy’s “Don’t Believe The Hype”/”Prophets Of Rage”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

     photo PEDBTH_45_zps38888a8e.jpg
    By the time I bought the first single (a 12″) for what would be It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, I had already bought Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush The Show, “You’re Gonna Get Yours”/”Rebel Without A Pause”, the “Bring The Noise split 12” with The Black Flames, and the Less Than Zero soundtrack, which featured the preferred mix of “Bring The Noise”. The 12″ for “Don’t Believe The Hype” was bought awhile before I found the 45 but it was nice to have since hip-hop 45’s are somewhat of an oddity.

    When “Don’t Believe The Hype” was released, that wasn’t even the important song in question, for I originally thought “Prophets Of Rage” was the hit. It goes back to Public Enemy’s motto on how the “B-Side Wins Again”, and it did, for I loved the droning sound that commanded Chuck D.’s verses. I also loved how commanding Chuck sounding in this, complimented with Flavor Flav’s callback and occasional humorous side to it. “Prophets Of Rage” just moved me and I felt if it was as good as “Bring The Noise”, it had to be great. Little did I know how great, powerful, and influential it would be.

    “Don’t Believe The Hype” seemed to move along at a slow pace at first, although i remember when the song title was already becoming a slogan in the spring of 1988. It would take the album for me to appreciate the song but when I did, I loved Chuck’s pace came off deliberate, and how the way he spoke sounded nothing like the other Public Enemy songs he had already done. He didn’t want to sound the same with each effort, part of the story was also how he explained the story itself. The line that hooked me first was “suckers, liars, get me a shovel”, that one allowed me to truly hear everything else he had to say, especially about the “false media”. The line spoke about the mainstream media but would soon affect how hip-hop’s means of communication would turn into a hype machine. It would still be a few years before anyone realized how much the false media persuaded the tastes and marketability of everything.

    Perhaps “Bring The Noise” should have been chosen, as the song holds up incredibly well but if there was a choice between having only one Public Enemy song in a dream jukebox vs. two, I’m definitely going to go for doubles.


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