There is no ‘Mumble (C)Rap’ on this album.
There is no ‘Trap Music’ on this album.
Those are two bonus points, right off the bat.
“After 30 years, 106 tours across 105 countries and countless records, thank you. This one is on Public Enemy. Get it while it’s free.” – Chuck D
Earlier this week, Public Enemy released their newest album, Nothing Is Quick In The Desert. This album was released early, and it was released for free, via this link.
The album is relatively short – 13 tracks, a little over 40 minutes long – but it is packed, in the PE way, with commentary on everything from Donald Trump to Reality TV.
- The title track is the lead-off track – a 1:20 shot about the “desert” of the record industry and the slow “deaths” of musicians in that desert. I love the beat of this track; it’s a good, “not quick” feel to kick off the album
- “Rest In Beats (Part 1 & 2)” ends the album in a really cool, near-7-minuite tribute to all of the rappers that have died, presumably since Public Enemy put their first album out in 1987. Chuck D also takes aim at the ever-changing rap scene, a scene that’s not changing for the better. He laments the loss of ‘messages’ , groups, and even styles:
“The love for the art dipped in the dough
We lost real flows to mumbles and memes
We’ve seen the loss of ideas that we were kings and queens
Where are the groups? Too many going solo”
The track is summed up with the lyric:
“Rest In Beats is the way that we say…. Salute!”
- “SOC MED Digital Heroin” is a warning and lamentation about the “digital heroin”: Twitter, Facebook, emojis, and other social media that has influenced the music industry and brainwashed a generation (I do find it a little ironic that social media is getting attacked… on an album that was just digitally released).
Other tracks that stood out for me include “Terrorwrist” (with a cool beat and feel) and “Toxic” (with the very thought-provoking lyrics: “Can’t sing a song to save your life, but can you sing a song to save a life?”).
According to Slate.com, guest artists include Ice-T, PMD, Easy Mo Bee, Sammy Vegas, and Solé.
This feels like a Public Enemy album. Chuck D and friends make their opinions very well known about a lot of the current events and popular topics of the times, and they do it with a pretty good blend of beats and samples. While it might not be up there with Fear Of A Black Planet and Apocalypse ’91… The Enemy Strikes Black, Nothing Is Quick In The Desert is a very high entry on Public Enemy’s “Best” list. Download this album – what can you lose? It’s free!
2 thoughts on “Review: “Nothing Is Quick In the Desert””
Interestingly, I would say that the loss of messages in rap/hip-hop is not due to the fact that there is no one with a good message, but that those with a real message are lost in the noise and hype of the industry. The best rappers don’t get the attention that they deserve right now. Propaganda, the Doomtree collective, Akala, Aesop Rock all get locked into niche indie markets, and they are the ones carrying the banner of the hip-hop message. That’s my observation. There are exceptions. Tribe Called Quest got good attention last year, and that was a hell of an album. Well, whatever. This record is awesome. I’m a huge fan of what Public Enemy have released here. After 30 yrs, they are as relevant and poignant as ever.
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Very true, on all accounts. Doomtree collective and the others are the ones that have real (and good) messages… but you sometimes have to go waaay off of the “mainstream road” to find them.
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