Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

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. B+