Public Enemy (band)

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We got to fight the powers that be.
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power. ~ Fight the Power
So get up get, get get down,
911 is a joke in yo town.
Get up, get, get, get down.
Late 911 wears the late crown. ~ 911 Is a Joke
Professor Griff
DJ Lord

Public Enemy is an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn, DJ Lord, and the S1W group. Formed on Long Island, New York in 1982, they are known for their politically charged music and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community. They remain one of the most critically acclaimed bands in history.

Song lyrics

  • Goin' quicker in the speedin' lane,
    Jealous can't do it and it's causin' them pain.
    Caught in my smoke, all they did was choke.
    Look at my spokes, you know I'm no joke.
    Out that window, middle finger for all,
    Jealous at my ride, stereo and black walls.
    Suckers they got the nerve and gall
    To talk 'bout the car when they're walkin' tall.
  • You got no rap - but you want to battle.
    It's like havin' a boat - but you got no paddle.
    'Cause I never pause - I say it because
    I don't break in stores - but I break all laws.
    Written while sittin' - all fittin' not bitten,
    Givin' me the juice that your not gettin'.
    I'm not a law obeyer - so you can tell your mayor
    I'm a non-stop, rhythm rock poetry sayer.
    I'm the rhyme player - the ozone layer.
    A battle, what? Here's a bible, start your prayer.
    • Public Enemy No. 1, written by Chuck D and Hank Shocklee

All songs written by Chuck D, Eric Sadler, and Hank Shocklee, except as noted.

  • Never badder than bad 'cuz the brother is madder than mad
    At the fact that's corrupt as a senator.
    Soul on a roll, but you treat it like soap on a rope
    'Cuz the beats in the lines are so dope.
    Listen for lessons I'm saying
    Inside music that the critics are blasting me
    For they'll never care for the brother and sisters
    Now across the country has us up for the war.
    We got to demonstrate, come on
    They're gonna have to wait 'till we get it right.
    Radio stations I question their blackness.
    They call themselves black, but we'll see if they'll play this.

    Turn it up, bring the noise!
    I said turn it up!

  • Don't believe the hype - its a sequel.
    As an equal, can I get this through to you/
    My 98's boomin' with a trunk of funk,
    All the jealous punks can't stop the dunk.
    Comin' from the school of hard knocks,
    Some perpetrate, they drink Clorox,
    Attack the black, cause I know they lack exact
    The cold facts, and still they try to Xerox.
    Leader of the new school, uncool,
    Never played the fool, just made the rules.
    Remember there's a need to get alarmed.
    Again I said I was a time-bomb.
    In the daytime the radio's scared of me
    'Cause I'm mad, plus I'm the enemy.
    They can't c'mon and play with me in prime-time
    'Cause I know the time, plus I'm gettin' mine.
  • I put this together to...
    Rock the bells of those that
    Boost the dose
    Of lack a lack
    And those that sell to Black.
    Shame on a brother when he dealin'
    The same block where my 98 be wheelin'.
    And everybody know
    Another kilo
    From a corner from a brother to keep another -
    Stop illin' and killin'.
    Stop grillin'.
    Yo, black, yo (we are willin').
    4, 5 o'clock in the mornin'.
    Wait a minute y'all,
    The fiends are fiendin'.
    Day to day they say no other way.
    This stuff...
    Is really bad
    I'm talkin' 'bout...BASS.
  • Cold sweatin' as I dwell in my cell,
    How long has it been?
    They got me sittin' in the state pen.
    I gotta get out - but that thought was thought before
    I contemplated a plan on the cell floor.
    I'm not a fugitive on the run,
    But a brother like me begun - to be another one.
    Public enemy servin' time - they drew the line y'all
    To criticize me some crime - nevertheless
    They could not understand that I'm a Black man
    And I could never be a veteran.
    On the strength, the situation's unreal,
    I got a raw deal, so I'm goin' for the steel.
  • No matter what the name - we're all the same,
    Pieces in one big chess game.
    Yeah - the voice of power
    Is in the house - go take a shower boy.
    P.E. a group, a crew - not singular.
    We were black Wranglers,
    We're rap stranglers.
    You can't angle us - I know you're listenin'.
    I caught you pissin' in your pants.
    You're scared of us dissin' us.
    The crowd is missin' us.
    We're on a mission boy.

All songs written by Chuck D, Eric Sadler, and Hank Shocklee, except as noted.

  • So many of us in limbo.
    How to get it on, it's quite simple.
    Three stones from the sun,
    We need a piece of this rock.
    Our goal indestructible soul.
    Answers to this quizzin'
    To the Brothers in the street, schools and the prisons
    History shouldn't be a mystery.
    Our story's real history,
    Not his story.
    We gonna work it one day
    Till we all get paid.
    The right way in full, no bull.
    Talkin', no walkin', drivin', arrivin' in style.
    Soon you'll see what I'm talkin' 'bout.
    'Cause one day
    The brothers gonna work it out.
    Brothers, brothers gonna work it out.
    • Brothers Gonna Work It Out
  • Hit me.
    Going, going, gone.
    Now I dialed 911 a long time ago.
    Don't you see how late they're reactin'?
    They only come and they come when they wanna.
    So get the morgue, embalm the goner.
    They don't care 'cause they stay paid anyway.
    They teach ya like an ace, they can't be betrayed.
    I know you stumble with no use people.
    If your life is on the line then you're dead today.
    • 911 Is a Joke, written by Flavor Flav, Eric Sadler, and Hank Shocklee
  • So get up get, get get down,
    911 is a joke in yo town.
    Get up, get, get, get down.
    Late 911 wears the late crown.
    • 911 Is a Joke
  • Crucifixion ain't no fiction
    So called chosen frozen
    Apology made to whoever pleases,
    Still they got me like Jesus.
    I rather sing, bring, think reminisce
    'Bout a brother while I'm in sync.
    Every brother ain't a brother cause a color
    Just as well could be undercover.
    Backstabbed, grabbed a flag
    From the back of the lab,
    Told a Rab get off the rag.
    Sad to say I got sold down the river,
    Still some quiver when I deliver.
    • Welcome to the Terrordome
  • 1989 the number another summer (get down),
    Sound of the funky drummer.
    Music hittin' your heart cause I know you got soul
    (Brothers and sisters, hey)
    Listen if you're missin' y'all
    Swingin' while I'm singin'
    Givin' whatcha gettin'
    Knowin' what I know,
    While the Black bands sweatin'
    And the rhythm rhymes rollin'.
    Got to give us what we want,
    Gotta give us what we need.
    Our freedom of speech is freedom or death.
    We got to fight the powers that be.
    Lemme hear you say
    Fight the power.
  • Elvis was a hero to most,
    But he never meant shit to me you see
    Straight up racist that sucker was
    Simple and plain.
    Mother fuck him and John Wayne.
    'Cause I'm Black and I'm proud.
    I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped.
    Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps.
    Sample a look back you look and find
    Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
    Don't Worry, Be Happy
    Was a number one jam.
    Damn if I say it you can slap me right here.
    • Fight the Power

All songs written by Cerwin "C-Dawg" Depper, Chuck D, Gary "G-Wiz" Rinaldo, and Stuart Robertz

  • Bass in your face,
    Not an eight track.
    Gettin' it good to the wood
    So the people
    Give you some a dat,
    Reactin' to the facts
    That I kick and it stick
    And it stay around.
    Pointin' to the joint, put the Buddha down,
    Goin', goin', gettin' to the roots.
    Ain't givin' it up,
    So turn me loose.
    But then again I got a story
    That's harder than the hardcore
    Cost of the holocaust
    I'm talkin' 'bout the one still goin' on.
    • Can't Truss It
  • Land of the free,
    But the skin I'm in identifies me.
    So the people around me
    Energize me.
    Callin' all aboard this train ride.
    Talkin' 'bout raw hardcore,
    Leavin' frauds on the outside.
    But the bad thing is anyone can ride the train.
    And the reason
    For that is 'cause we look the same.
    Lookin' all around at my so called friends
    Light skin to the brown,
    The black,
    Here we go again.
    • Nighttrain
  • What I use in the battle for the mind
    I hit it hard
    Like it supposed,
    Pullin' no blows to the nose
    Like uncle L said I'm rippin' up shows.
    Then what it is
    Only 5 percent of the biz
    I'm addin' woes
    That's how da way it goes
    Then you think I rank never drank, point blank,
    I own loans.
    Suckers got me runnin' from the bank.
    Civil liberty I can't see to pay a fee.
    I never saw a way to pay a sap,
    To read the law
    Then become a victim of a lawyer.
  • What goes on?
    Rollin' Stones of the rap game not braggin'
    Lips bigger than Jagger, not saggin.
    Spell it backwards
    I'm a leave it at that...

    That ain't got nothin to do with rap.
    Check the facts, expose those cats
    Who pose as heros and take advantage of blacks.
    Your government's gangster so cut the crap.
    A war goin on so where you at?

    Fight the power comes great responsibility.
    F the police but who's stoppin' you from killin' me?
    Disasters, fiascos over a loop by PE
    If it's an I instead of We
    Believin' TV
    Spittin riches, bitches, and this new thing about snitches.
    Watch them asses move, the masses switches.
    System dissed them but barely missed her.
    My soul intention to save my brothers and sisters.

Quotes about Public Enemy

  • The booming system blasted modern-day movement anthems, songs from N.W.A and Public Enemy. Listening to those anthems in my community gave me hope. The 1989 classic "Fight the Power" came on. We had listened to that song probably a million times on the front lines, but as I stood alongside people from all around the country again, who were there to fight the power with us, it felt special. Ferguson Frontline needed support. We were all spent and traumatized. But, in this moment, my heart filled. We rode the waves of Chuck D and Flavor Flav's voices, throwing our fists up in the air. I looked around me and thought to myself, "These are my people. Something is still happening here. This is real. This is our movement."
    • Cori Bush The Forerunner: A Story of Pain and Perseverance in America (2022) p 177
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