BB! Presents: Rap Music History #9

Lesson #9:

Public Enemy
“Louder Than A Bomb” (3.48MB)

I had no trouble this week determining which rappers I wanted you to hear. Public Enemy used to be one of the tightest groups in the game. I keep hoping that Chuck, Flav and Terminator pull it together for an amazing comeback, but that hasn’t happened yet.
I did have trouble deciding which album to pull a track from and which particular track. PE made so many great damned songs, rap anthems, thinking rap anthems, critical thinking rap anthems. They were the original militant rap crew and sadly, no one has yet taken up that legacy to run with it. PE will be in the music hall of fame someday – they were that important and their first four albums still sound fresh to me. So here’s how I got turned onto Public Enemy:

7th grade English class, Dennis Agabao sitting one row to my left and a chair behind me. Dennis is talking to some girls about this new tape he got by some group called Public Enemy. He’s showing them the tape and I turn around and ask if I can see it. Chuck D and Flavor Flav sitting behind bars. Right on. I hand the tape back and go back to whatever I was doing. I hear Dennis start talking about how he’s been smoking pot. Now I know this is bullshit. He’s showing off for the girls. Then he calls up to me, “J, you be smoking that shit with me, right?” I turn around and give him my look of death and doom (this is a really heartless stare I developed to ward off bullies by making them think I was insane). “I don’t smoke that shit,” I said. Then, and this is the brilliant part, Dennis laughs and says, “I don’t be smoking that shit, either. I was just playing.” The girls giggle and Dennis shoots me his own look of death and doom. Later that day, I find out he wants to beat me up for dissing him. Dissing him? I didn’t tell the girls he was lying. So, for a few days or so I avoided his path and told all our mutual friends that I didn’t want to fight him over something like that. In the end, I avoided getting pummeled for making this dude feel guilty that he lied about smoking pot. Before all this I thought Dennis was an OK guy, but I never really trusted him again. I did, however, manage to get a copy of his Public Enemy tape, and that has made all the difference.

I have lots of PE stories, from Jesse Wedick saying, “How low can you go?” in a deep baritone that echoed throughout the halls of Willow Springs High School to writing out the lyrics to “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” on a notebook and making all my friends read them while admonishing them to get educated. I was warped, but I loved me some Public Enemy (and still do).


Nice story…sounded like you went to Chipman middle School in Alameda. I knew a guy named Dennis Agabao.

Posted by: dbabhc  at June 20, 2005 11:31 AM

that’s the one! he really was a good guy to me (and i to him) before and after that one week where he wanted to beat me down.

did you go to chipman?

Posted by: jdoublep  at June 21, 2005 08:58 AM

(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

BB! Presents: Rap Music History #9

Sock it to me

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