Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Public Enemy: Apocalypse 91 . . . The Enemy Strikes Black [Def Jam/Columbia, 1991]
Hard, hard, hard--hard beats hard news, hard 'tude. Hard on the brother man (African slave traders, black rookies, dead gangstas, malt liquor addicts, Quiet Storm, Jet, and anybody who calls Flav "nigga"). Trademark dissonances and quick-witted interactions are sui generis, yet it's so in-your-face spare and sneaky deliberate that it's further from Fear of a Black Planet than Black Planet was from Nation of Millions, which was a lot further than a nation of others noticed. Strong top to bottom, it could peak higher: the closest thing to a "Bring the Noise" or "Terrordome" or even "911" is that nigga song. Motto: "Justice evolves only after injustice is defeated." A