Public Enemy have dropped off their highly-anticipated album, What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?.
Marking the iconic hip-hop group’s 15th studio LP, the 17-track project features guest appearances from both old and new friends, including George Clinton, DJ Premier, Cypress Hill, Run-DMC, Ice-T, Nas, Rapsody, YG and Black Thought. The cyclical nature of What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? plays out in several ways: the album sees them return to their original label Def Jam Records, there’s an updated version of “Fight The Power” and “Public Enemy Number Won” and the group continues to unapologetically point out the systemic flaws that damage humanity — all while sounding at their best in decades.
The themes in What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? is comparable to classics like Yo! Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back — which is also, unfortunately, a reflection of the little progress society has made — but Public Enemy proves that they’re not behind on the technological advancements and the harm it does. They might cheekily tease “Folks might have to pick up a book, pick up a pen” on the track “GRID,” but they also highlight the addictive nature of social media by catchily asking what society will do when this important aspect in our daily lives breaks down.
“Cultural Institutions are important. Being an integral part of one is an honor bestowed and to uphold,” Chuck D said of their return to Def Jam. “Public Enemy songs are forever sonic prints in the sands of time. And it’s time – it’s necessary – to bring the noise again from a place called home. Def Jam. Fight The Power 2020.” Flavor Flav adds, “Def Jam is like the house we grew up in. It’s cool to be home.”
Stream Public Enemy’s What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? on Spotify and Apple Music below.
Elsewhere in music, stream A$AP Ferg’s latest studio album Floor Seats II.