The last time we heard from righteous rap legends Public Enemy, things were not so righteous. Back in April, the group announced that their noisy split from longtime hypeman Flavor Flav was a hoax, and that it was all staged to promote the new album from Public Enemy offshoot Public Enemy Radio. That sucked! Nobody liked it! So it’s good to see Public Enemy showing back up with an actual Public Enemy song, one that’s inspired by the current protest movement.
The new single “State Of The Union (STFU)” is less about an over-policed nation and more about Donald Trump in particular. Chuck D offers some easy fish-in-a-barrel commentary: “Orange hair! Fear the combover!” Some of his attacks read as sloppy slam poetry: “Unprecedented! Demented! Many prisoned! Nazi gestapo dictator defended!” But it’s good to hear his urgency in his booming voice once again.
For this song, PE worked with another legend. DJ Premier produced the track, and I’m pretty sure it’s Premier’s first time working directly with Public Enemy, though god knows he’s scratched Chuck D’s voice into plenty of old records. The song’s black-and-white video, from director David C. Snyder, features footage of recent protests, and it leans heavily on the still-powerful Public Enemy iconography. At the very least, it’s cool to see PE working as a unified front again. Watch it below.
“State Of The Union (STFU)” is out now on the streaming services.