Public Enemy is a male hip-hop group that dominated the 1980s and 1990s. Originating in Long Island, New York, the group consisted of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Terminator X, and later DJ Lord. The group gained fame and popularity for their radical lyrics that often pinpointed the frustrations of the African-American community, and politics at the time. The group started at Adelphi University in Long Island, when Carlton Ridenhour (Chuck D) met William Drayton (Flavor Flav). There they formed a group called Spectrum City, which produced a few tapes (one which was titled Public Enemy #1). When Chuck D was signed to Def Jam records, he brought along Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, (minister of information) and a local DJ named Terminator X.
Public Enemy started off as an opening act during the Beastie Boys’. In 1987 Public Enemy released their debut album. Yo! Bum Rush the Show, which was greatly received and helped the group to gain a strong fan base. Their second album It takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which released in 1988 featured hit songs “Don’t Believe the Hype” and “Bring the Noise”. In 1990 Public Enemy released the album Fear of a Black Planet. This album featured “Fight the Power” which is regarded as one their best (if not the best) songs. Fight the Power would go on to become the theme song for Spike Lee’s movie “Do the Right Thing”. They would go on to release Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Back which continue their politically charged, hard-hitting, music. Public Enemy’s music touched on issues plaguing black youth instead of rapping about money, fashion, and other fads at the time.
Public Enemy has been nominated for 5 Grammys and 3 American Music Awards.
In 2013 Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.