Yo! Bumrush the Show

Public Enemy: Yo! Bum Rush the Show

Like the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, Yo! Bumrush the Show is a debut that is great in its own right, but doesn’t necessarily represent what the artist is or would eventually become. That may have to do with Rick Rubin being at the controls, or it may just have to do with a group trying to find its bearings. Whatever the case, this is a much more stripped down Public Enemy, all boom and bass and bragging about how “bad” they are. The thing is here, that with Chuck D. pushed way up front, the album has some immediacy and strength that a lot of other rap albums at the time didn’t. After all Chuck is the power behind the group, his voice the siren call. This is best shown on “Miuzi Weighs a Ton” and “Timebomb.” He’s the scary black man who just needs to mention his uzi and not necessarily brandish it to scare the crap out of white America. There’s an intelligence (if such a thing can be said) behind the swagger. The production has a funny echo about it, and I don’t recall hearing another album in my many years of listening that sounded quite like it. It’s as if the group is in a large industrial space or something, but I’m sure is just a recording trick where there’s a lag between left and right and whatever. Anyway, it sounds pretty awesome.