Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap group of the late ’80s and, for many, the definitive rap group of all time. Building from Run-D.M.C.’s street-oriented beats and Boogie Down Productions’ proto-gangsta rhyming, Public Enemy pioneered a variation of hardcore rap that was musically and politically revolutionary. With his powerful, authoritative baritone, lead rapper Chuck D rhymed about all kinds of social problems, particularly those plaguing the black community, often condoning revolutionary tactics and social activism. In the process, he directed hip-hop toward an explicitly self-aware, pro-black consciousness that became the culture’s signature throughout the next decade. While Public Enemy’s early Def Jam albums, produced with the Bomb Squad, earned them a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they continued to release relevant material up to and beyond their 2013 induction.
An Anti-Trump anthem and produced in support of the protests currently taking place across the Globe, ‘State of the Union (STFU)’ takes aim at the current political climate, and was released on Juneteenth — a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S..
On the track, Public Enemy speak about the current White House administration and police brutality against Black Americans, and shared the video alongside visuals featuring footage from recent BLM protests, where the group’s ‘Fight the Power’ saw an 89% surge in streams amid the ongoing movement.
The protests have been taking place globally since the end of May, following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who was killed by white police officer, Derek Chauvin. Footage of the arrest shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, ignoring him as he repeatedly pleads, “I can’t breathe”.
You can check out the video below, and download the song for free via Public Enemy’s website.