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It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
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Product Description

It Takes a Nation of Millions was the sign that hip-hop had exploded like a grenade. A rap record as abrasive, hardcore, and eloquent as a JFK speech, the 1988 disc is one classic track after another: tense, multilayered, harmonically wild music. Chuck D. declaims like a master preacher with foil Flavor Flav's voice darting around his. They've got the desperate energy of people fighting for their lives, and everything from their pumped-up rhetoric ("Prophets of Rage") to the group's quasi-paramilitary organization to the sirens and sax squeals in nearly every track declares how urgent their mission is. It's a hugely influential album, and it still sounds fresh and frightening after all these years. --Douglas Wolk

Japanese only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD - playable on all CD players) pressing. Universal. 2008.

Customer Reviews:

  • It takes a nation of millions to hold us back
    El disco recibido ha cumplido perfectamente todas mis espectativas...more info
  • Want some good revolutionary rap? Listen to 50 cent
    This is crap. Really, who ever think this is a groundbreaking album or revolutionary needs to have their heads checked. This album is WACK and BORING! BORING! BORING! BORRRRRING! I can't stress that word enough. Oh and Check D talking about Elvis? Ok, in 20 years when Public Enemy would be forgotten, Elvis would still be selling and going platinum....more info
  • Classic. One Word.
    Ok first things first, Vincent Vega you don't know what bass is? Its the frequency of the music that makes your walls vibrate. Don't be hatin' on a classic 'cos you don't understand politics.
    Anywyas, back to the album itself. Chuck D, however much some of you may not like it, tells it how it is when it comes to the government. Flava's kinda annoying sometimes...For all you out there who think this album is racist whats wrong with you? I think it's safe to say it contains no racism what so ever. (The following isn't intended to sound racist) I can't remember this particular users name, but he/she said they were white, & they hated rap before this album (props to them for gettin into QUALITY rap, not that 50 cent garbage, 50 might aswell be five-o) and if they're white, a like this album becuase of it's lyrics, i don't see how you can tell people it's racist. Ok, maybe you don't like Public Enemy, so go home son, your probably too young for politics, don't understand. I don't claim to be old & mature, i'm 15, i'm not ashamed of that, however i find it sad that there is some of you out there hating on this album purely for its political content & supposed racism.

    I recommend this album to any true rap fan, but also to anyone looking to get into meaningful rap, not commercial trash.

    ...more info
  • Religious Epiphany--No Joke
    Back in 1988, I heard this when I was 11 years old, a little white kid growing up in the suburbs. Chuck D completely discredited everything I'd been raised to believe in and Terminator X (with help from the Bomb Squad) radically altered my idea of how music was made and what purpose it really served in our society. I am a for-real music fanatic and the vast majority of all music I've listened to and respected since 1988 can all be traced back to THIS album. I've heard and loved a whole damn lot of music in my life and I can say with complete confidence that this is one of the most important musical recordings of the 20th Century. No joke. Five stars is actually an insult--this music is priceless....more info
  • Classic old-skool rap
    This album is a straight up classic. This is the first public enemy album that i bought, and i'm definitely going to get more. I was sort of hesitant about buying any public enemy at first because i expected their style to be way different but its awesome. Anyway, i reccomend this to any fan of hip hop....more info
  • Revolutionary hip-hop
    One of the greatest albums ever made. A must have for any true music fan and anyone who believes in social justice....more info
  • Classic Rap At It's Best
    I was lucky to see them perform live 2 days ago where I live, what a nostalgic performence that was and what a live show they gave, They don't look a day older then 30 and the music still feels fresh today. I wasn't sure wether I was back in 1988 or if it really was 2005. The band, the dj, the guitarist they had were all amazing. With Chuck D's lyrics, Flavor Flav's trademark dancing is something not to miss, even Proffesor Griff was back. If there is one band to see live, then you have them right here. Let's go to the album.

    Greatest Ever Rap Album? Probably it was. Public Enemy's 1988 classic took rap Music to new levels, Grandmaster Flash and Run Dmc had made giant steps for Rap, but it finally reach it's highest peak when this album was released in 1988. Public Enemy had it all, charisma, Intelligent lyrics, often about politics and a fantastic sound where they added all kind of influents like Jazz, Funk, Soul, Rock. They also added a very diverse flavour of samples, everything from car noises to Martin Luther King Jr speaches. To have a band that both know what they want and stand for, and sound so incredibly ginuine is something that we lack today. While Chuck D was the frontman and wrote most of the Lyrics, Flavor Flav was the innovative absurd sidekick that often had big comic glasses and a huge clock around his neck. Proffesor Griff was the "minister of information" and occasionally rapped aswell. Terminator X served as DJ and then there was the Bomb Squad, who was producers and the S1W, the Security squad, that often were used as dancers. All members had there purpose, nuff said.

    "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" was P.E's second album and it was released in 1988, it came to be known as the bands best album and probably the best ever rap album aswell. "Bring the Noise" was an immense hit, and it was of the first Rap-Metal collaborations, where P.E teams up with Metal band Anthrax, however it never was one of my favorites, but it's much better then recent metal-rap. "Don't Believe the Hype" became a trademark. Basically, don't believe everything your hear or what is written. They were both accused of being Criminals and Racist at the time. "Cold Lampin' With Flavor" is one of these songs where Flav sings lead. As always it's innovaite both lyrically and musically. Next songs is a indroduction to Terminator X's greatness. "Louder Than A Bomb" critizised FBI and CIA and "Caught, Can We Get A Witness?" is about sampling/stealing, according to Chuck he's just "giving it a new name" And seriously, they always used cool samples, not like certain new wave musicians. "Show Em What You Got" is awesome with it's Sax sample. "She Watch Channel Zero" Is about the woman, totally obsessed by crappy tv rather then her man. "Night Of The Living Basheads" is one of the coolest Rap songs of all time, the sound & samples are just awesome. "Black Steel" is a anti-military war song, black men are mistreated but they are suppost to be part of the army/in the war?. "Rebel Without a Pause" "Prophets Of Rage" are both great old-skool songs and the last song "Party For Your Right To Fight" ends this album and is what you think it is about.

    This is a classic hip hop album that everyone should own. It's not only intellegent, but infleuntual, funky and well made. They know what they want, and the production of this album is superb with beats and samples from a mix of diffrent genre's, good and interesting lyrics. Hip Hop needs Public Enemy.
    ...more info
  • what can I say, this album is a must have for black music lovers
    what can I say, this album is a must have for black music lovers. It's a milestone....more info
  • thaman, SHUT UP!!
    You're an idiot. I don't ever recall Danny trashing this record. And stop using your dumb racist words, it's stupid as hell. But you're right about MTV supporter, so I'll give you that.

    Now I'm making this review short. As for this album, this is by far the best of all of Public Enemy's albums. Chuck D is at his best with his lyrical rhymes here. Flava Flav adds some good "flava" in this album by being comical with Chuck. And Terminator X is at his best "speaking with his hands" on the turntables and mixers.

    This is what REAL Rap/Hip-Hop should be like, not the dumb "I want to see your booties and get filthy rich" and "I wanna be gangsta" themes like the vast majority of today's Rap is. Get this album. And ignore "thaman," he's a fool who thinks Black people are better than all races....more info
  • What a GROUNDBREAKING moment in hip hop
    If you are a long time hip hop fan like me, you remember the explosive year that was 1988, with all of the TIMELESS classics that were released that will stand the test of of time. Public Enemy's second album, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, is one of the most influential albums to ever be released in music. NO ONE, other than Krs-One, came this politically correct on an album. Chuck D's delivery is so CAPTIVATING on this album that ever song he's on, you just have to listen to him all the way through. And what resulted was one EXCELLENT album. Here's the review:

    Album Highlights: Let's keep it real, this entire album is worth listening to all the way through.

    Production: Thumbs up, The Bomb Squad at their best.

    Lyrics and Subject Matter: Thumbs up.

    Originality: Thumbs Up.

    The Last Word: This is a MUST HAVE for any collection. I true masterpiece in the history of hip hop. Hip hop will NEVER be like this again. Another STRONG RECOMMENDATION....more info

  • so i'm going for the steel!
    Chuck D has the greatest rap voice ever. Yeah, yeah, there you are with your Snoop Dogg and your Rakim and your Ice Cube and - shut up. The angry, politically conscious baritone rules the day in the end. And I'm not even rap's biggest fan.

    We have masterful six-minute epics ("Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos", the disks' greatest song, with its incredible, impassioned Chuck D rap over that kickass tinkly piano sample interspersed with martial-sounding distorted Flavor Flav interludes), intense jolts of energy ("Bring The Noise", "She Watch Channel Zero" with it's SLAYER sample!!), slower and funkier things ("Louder Than A Bomb", which actually isn't as loud as some other songs on here, "Don't Believe The Hype", "Party For Your Right To Fight"), sampling genius ("Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic", "Caught, Can We Get A Witness?", and "Night Of The Living Baseheads"), cool little one-minute mostly instrumental linking bits ("Countdown To Armageddon", "Mind Terrorist", "Show 'Em Whatcha Got", "Security Of The First World") and... err.... everything else, including a Flavor Flav solo track ("Cold Lampin With Flavor") that actually kinda sucks, mainly because of how bowel-suckingly awful the lyrics are (yes, Flav, we get it. Your name is 'flavor' and bad food puns can be made from this. Fine. Good. Say, when's Chuck coming back with the angriness and the politics and the baritone?).

    But overall, the dense samples courtesy of the Bomb Squad, Terminator X's expertly placed scratchings and squeakings, Flav's brief snippets (despite "Cold Lampin With Flavor") and the total kickassedness that is Chuck D will leave you breathless. And "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos" is just SO good. So, so good....more info
  • Brilliant
    This 1988 disc was revolutionary in many ways and is an example of what hip-hop might have become had it not been for an entire generation of heavily marketed dervishes in parachute pants manipulating stereotypes for a fast buck and guys who used the word "bitch" as punctuation while shamelessly exploiting their own culture. 18 years later I can still recite the lyrics to every song verbatim and I haven't heard any of the songs in over a decade. Radical, extreme lyrics over mile-wide grooves and all at an unrelenting pace. Fans of the James Brown Band, the JBs and/or Maceo Parker will recognize many of the samples. Excellent, brilliant and "radical in the extreme". Get it....more info
  • No Boyeee!
    I wanted to like this album, but after the hearing Flava Flav shout "yeah boyee!" for the 100th time I lost my enthusiasm. Chuck D has an awesome voice and puts it down with authority, at least when Flava Flav isn't talking in between his raps. Terminator X, the DJ, creates some pretty funky beats but gets scratch happy and reverbs the voices too much. Example: track 9 is an ear irritant and headache inducer. The saxophone overlay is a redeeming quality but they go nowhere with the song. You want good old school rap? Check out the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, even Ice T and Naughty By Nature. Leave this overrated album though. It's a little too high strung for my tastes, but hey, I'm white so what do I know? If you do end up buying it, skip track 1 because its filler like the beginning of all great rap cds, track 13 because it's a boring instrumental rap beat that just repeats, and track 16 because it will cause you smash your boombox into 1000 pieces. Heck, I'll give you my copy for free. Oh wait, forget I said that, I can't waste valuable coasters....more info
  • The classic of rap music
    Considering I don't like much rap music but for this I'll make a major exception. This is the most explosive thing I've ever heard and must be in everybody's collection. This is intelligently done and Chuck D brings the venom while Flavor Flav brings the humour.

    Recommmended...more info

  • When hip-hop actually meant something.
    Public Enemy were perhaps the best, most influential hip-hop act of all time, and this is the greatest thing they created. Fear Of A Black Planet is the only other P.E. release in the same league and even that had some moments of filler. By the time Apocalypse '91 was released the group was already fractured from the Professor Griff controversy and past its prime. With It Takes A Nation... Chuck D., Flavor Flav, and the Bomb Squad were young, energized, angry, and at the top of their game in 1988.

    It Takes A Nation... was hip-hop's clarion call to the world. While earlier albums from Run D.M.C., the Beastie Boys, and others proved that hip-hop could expand its sound and be more than a passing fad, Public Enemy showed that hip-hop could also be a voice for the black community and its social and political concerns. Intense, angry, militant, political, thoughtful, creative...all of the above apply to this album. While I'm no proponent of black radicalism (and think Louis Farrakhan is a nutcase), I definitely admire the intelligence and innovation that went into this recording. And contrary to what some have said, there is little that is racist about the messages in this album, though the views presented are largely Afrocentric. After all, this is the same group that later teamed up with Anthrax (a bunch of thrash metal-playing white dudes) to record "Bring Tha Noize" and bring about rap-metal. P.E. are trying to make people question society and history and look at the world around them, similar to what earlier punk bands like The Clash, Crass, and The Dead Kennedys have done. Pretty powerful stuff.

    Love him or hate him, you ignore Chuck D. at your own peril. His prescence as an M.C. and lyricist is virtually unrivalled. While he's not as technically skilled as say, Rakim, he's definitely no slouch, and his lyrics are very thought-provoking, eloquent and downright quotable expressions of righteous indignation at the American prison system, pop culture "values," the inner-city drug epidemic, the federal government ("You're CIA, you see I ain't kiddin'"), the media, and the watered-down history we're fed in public school textbooks, among other things. A far cry from today's common topics of "bling and b-tches," that's for sure. Flavor Flav fills the role of jester, dropping humourous rhymes in between Chuck D.'s blasts of venom--smart writers know that polemics go down a little easier with a dash of humor (a lesson that all too many would-be political songwriters forget).

    If the Rick Rubin/Bomb Squad production sounds dated these days (and I think it has stood up brilliantly, not something you can say for most hip-hop albums), it's because so many later hip-hop artists and producers have ripped it off. There's free jazz sax squeals, funky beats, excellent samples (my favorite is that MLK Jr. sample which, if I remember correctly, kicks off Night Of The Living Baseheads), and some crazy turntable scratching from Terminator X. On She Watch Channel Zero?, even a Slayer sample is used to awesome effect, proving already that metal can make an excellent hip-hop backdrop. Like Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys, It Takes A Nation... is worth listening to for its production alone.

    Bring The Noise, Don't Believe The Hype (practically an anti-media anthem), Louder Than A Bomb, Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (coolest title EVER!), Prophets Of Rage, Party For Your Right To Fight...all classic hip-hop. To all those who think Eminem is "thought-provoking" or "original" I'd advise you to pick this up and experience the real thing. ...more info
  • Let me hear that again.
    This is generally regarded as Public Enemy's best album. It's easy to see why, because it does feature many of their best songs. Like "Bring the Noise", "Don't Believe the Hype" and "She Watch Channel Zero". Believe the hype....more info
    I figured what the heck, I'm going to finally write a review for my favorite hip-hop album of all-time today...released in 1988 during the height of extremely creative and great hip-hop music, in my opinion this album stood above them all, even now 21 years after it's release it still stands above them all, WHY?? Chuck D's voice and messages are just powerful, Da Bomb Squad's production with it's multi-layered samples is just revolutionary and timeless, Flavor Flav's outbursts are just right on point and in sync with Chuck, I mean this album represents life there supposedly is no such thing as perfection, but this album achieved that and much more...this album is like a beautiful painting, or an incredible vacation, just something that you will never forget, it's completely TIMELESS...21 years from now these topics will still need to be covered and the production will still be revolutionary and different...I'm not sure what Chuck and Da Bomb Squad were thinking about when they went into the studio to create this masterpiece but we're all better for what they gave us, I want to personally thank them for this gift that keeps on giving even 21 years after they originally gave it to me..If your a young hip-hop fan looking for some VINTAGE hip-hop or an older hip-hop head who may have been among the few that actually missed this over the past 21 years then add this one to your collection'll find bliss in every track and top five songs-(if that is possible here) are:

    Bring The Noise
    Rebel Without A Pause
    Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
    Prophets Of Rage
    Don't Believe The Hype

    but basically the WHOLE project is just memorable and the greatest artistic effort released in hip-hop history, this MUST be in your collection!...more info
  • Where Have You BEEN All My Life?
    Why have I been wasting my time listening to Charlie Parker and Claude Debussy all these years? What ever made me think that Aretha Franklin and Gundula Janowitz could actually sing? I must have been high. THIS is the great work of true musical genius that all mankind has been waiting for. It marks the culmination and final, greatest achievement of the human race. What have we left to live for? It's all downhill from here, folks, so let's end it now, on a high note, and go out in a blaze of glory....more info
  • Behold! Remy Hilldaire - Master of Irony
    Congratulations Remy - you're reviews are the final word in irony. Loved the Avril Lavigne hatchet job too - good to see you picking the difficult targets. Are you a student by any chance?...more info
  • Number two on my all-time list...
    This is a phenomenal hip hop album - from the sound to the lyrical content, the humor, catchy beats and everything in between. This is my second favourite hip hop album of all-time, which is no small statement, as I am, and have been a huge hip hop fan. From the impact it has had on hip hop, to its longevity, to its undeniable listenability - it's simply one of the best albums of all-time.

    DEFINITELY worth a listen!...more info
  • This record changed the game forever...
    This is one of the TWO most influential hip-hop recordings EVER. It's difficult if you weren't around when this record was new to understand the impact that this record had on the landscape of hip-hop and music in general (I was in 10th grade at the time). The same could be said about the other influential record which was NWA's Straight Outta Compton but that's another review. Public Enemy was ushering in a new era in rap; the post Run DMC era, the New School era. The era with EPMD, BDP, The Jungle Brothers, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, De La Soul, Stetsasonic, and the list goes on and on. There were many groups to choose from and they all sounded completely different.

    Musically the sample arrangements created by the legendary Bomb-Squad were unique and multi layered. The various noises and sounds put together to make funky beats was a concept not quite heard before. Rebel Without a Pause with it's funky drummer loop and horn sample repeating 96 times brought a rawness to beat making that was infectious and forced you to listen. The imagery of the conscientious objector on Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos puts you right in the middle of a prison break. Chuck D while, not necessarily a Rakim, forcefully made you see his point of view whether you agreed with it or not. Flavor Flav was just fun pure and simple. Just listen to Cold Lampin' With Flavor for the comic relief with no message. Don't Believe the Hype was about media manipulation, Night of the Living Baseheads about the burgeoning crack epidemic. Caught, Can I Get a Witness? about sampling... this record had everything. I played it for over a year straight.

    This was a record that came at the right time and can never be repeated, no matter how hard you try to recreate the context. It Takes a Nation of Millions... will stand the test of time as THE greatest hip-hop album of all time. Public Enemy themselves, while able to put together many more classic songs, were never able to recapture the phenomena that was this album. This was the crown jewel of "The Golden Era". You must own this on some tangible format i.e. vinyl, cassette, or CD to possess a piece of music history....more info
  • Forget 50 Cent and Ludacris this is rap
    So many people think artists like 50 Cent are great rappers but guys like 50 wish they could be like Public Enemy. I have always been a fan of the classic rap, I love Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash, and Public Enemy. Those days I wish I could live to hear rap in its true form. Overall, if you appreciate music and know what real rap is, get this album you won't regret it....more info
  • Probally the most influential Rap album 1-A
    This album is considered a classic and the rock list have this one as the Top Rap album of them all.This album has an influence on people like Ice Cube and Nas or who ever this one has Chuck D very political and he kills it out with some of the best power on record(Probally behind only Biggie)Yes at times his boy Flava Flav gets annoying but he still does okay.It is true meaning everything he sais he belives heres more
    2.Bring the Noise-one of the classic songs off here 10/10
    3.Don't believe the hype-Probally the best song on here 10/10
    4.Cold Lampin-This one was okay 8/10
    5.Terminator X on the panic-this one is very good 10/10
    7.Louder then a bomb-This one is tight to 10/10
    8.Show em what you got-This one is pretty good 9/10
    10.She watch channel Zero-Loud and wild this one 10/10
    11.Night of the living Baseheads-Too much talking 7/10
    12.Black steel in the hour of chaos-Just tight 10/10 Classic
    14.Rebel without a pause-A classic beat for you 10/10
    15.Prophets of Rage-This song is okay beat wise 8/10
    16.Party for your right to fight-not the greatest ending 5/10
    This is not as revolutionary as it was in 88 but still it is a classic and must get mad respect from all heads
    Lyrics 10/10 Production 10/10 X Factor 8/10 Style 10/10 Voice 10
    Music 9/10 Innovative 10/10 Classic 10/10 Guest 10 Blends In 10
    Overall=97 wich means it is good for 5 Mics *****...more info
  • To the MTV Supporter.
    How can you diss REAL MUSIC?! You don't know what the defenition for that word is! Face it, MTV is filling your mind with commercial c**p that soon you would forget what REAL MUSIC is about. PUBLIC ENEMY is one of the GREATEST rappers out there and you say they suck and listen to 50 Cent instead. What do you know about REAL HIP-HOP?! Do yourself a favor and get away from MTV because it's killing your mind!...more info
  • Flava Flav ruined it for me
    This album has some good potential, but is ruined by Flava Flav's voice, similar, imo, to The Rated R ruining Thug Life Vol. 1 with his terrible little kid voice. Is Flava Flav 9 years old on this album? I will give It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back a few more listens and then update my review, but I would not give this my recommendation right now: I am very disappointed with it. Not sure what to say here, but if you want some late 80s rap check out Eric B and Rakim, BDP, or Big Daddy Kane instead....more info
  • Public Enemy's Classic...
    What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? This disc is one that I have listened to countless times and it speaks to me every time and NEVER gets old. This CD was masterfully crafted and has a great flow to it; each song seamlessly goes to the next. Chuck D. is in top form and the samples are great too. "Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos" is an incredible song and I love that they used a sample from the classic Isaac Hayes track "Hyberbollicsyllabicsesquedadamistic" from the "Hot Buttered Soul" album. There are also several creative samples from the "Wattstax" live concert throughout the album, and a snippet from David Bowie's "Fame" in "Night of the Living Baseheads". Tracks like "Don't Believe the Hype" and "Prophets of Rage" are both classics, but virtually everything on this is a classic. Chuck D. is by far my favorite rapper and I admire his knowledge of music and his message. His assessment that rap was the CNN of black America was dead on the mark, and Public Enemy really used rap as a tool to spread knowledge, which is how it should be. Its a shame that so much of today's rap music has degenerated into rants about money, violence, materialism and sex. This CD is a blueprint for all future rappers and everyone should own a copy. ...more info