Consumer Guide Album
Public Enemy: Yo! Bum Rush the Show [Def Jam, 1987]
It may seem redundant to accuse a rapper of arrogance, like accusing a politician of seeking power, but Chuck D takes the bully-boy orotundity of his school of rap elocution into a realm of vocal self-involvement worthy of Pavarotti, Steve Perry, or the preacher at a Richard Pryor funeral. And while I know the idea is to play him off the wheedling motor-mouth of his boy Flavor-Flav, why should I like the great man's fan any more than I like the great man? They've got literary chops--amid puns more Elvis Costello than Peter Tosh, their "Megablast" is cutting anticrack narrative-propaganda--and they make something personal of rap's ranking minimalist groove. But there's no fun in these guys, which given the intrinsic austerity of the groove means not much generosity either.