1987’s “Public Enemy No. 1″ was the first single from Long Island’s Public Enemy. The group recorded the track before they got explicitly political, but its blaring, needling synth line laid the groundwork for the chaotic noise that the group would soon bring. Last night, to help promote a bigass Def Jam anniversary box set, the group performed the song on The Tonight Show. They were there in all their glory: Flavor Flav yammering, the S1Ws stepping, everyone crammed onto a small stage with the Roots. And for their part, the Roots kept the song’s sound thick, their live instrumentation never detracting from the song’s precision. It’s cool when something like this can happen on TV; watch the performance below.
Remember when Diddy did his own version of “Public Enemy No. 1″? That was fun.