We may have reached the point where we can forget all about Public Enemy staging a breakup hoax earlier this year. Earlier this month, the legendary Long Island rap group announced that they had re-signed to Def Jam Records, the label that released all of their classic records. Today, they’ve released their new album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?, and it features contributions from a whole number of fellow legends. On one song in particular, Public Enemy link up with two of the only groups that could reasonably call themselves Public Enemy’s peers.
What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? features collaborations with legends like George Clinton, Ice-T, Cypress Hill, and Stetsasonic’s Daddy-O. We’ve already posted the DJ Premier-produced “State Of The Union (STFU)” and the new version of “Fight The Power” with Nas, Black Thought, YG, Rapsondi, and Jahi. And then there’s “Public Enemy Number Won,” a summit-meeting song that features Run-DMC and both surviving Beastie Boys alongside PE.
As the title implies, “Public Enemy Number Won” is a new version of PE’s impossibly hard 1987 debut single “Public Enemy No. 1.” The new track opens with Mike D and Ad-Rock doing their own version of Flavor Flav’s intro from the original track, remembering hearing Public Enemy’s original demo tape in 1985. I was worried that meant they wouldn’t actually rap on the thing, but they do — giving a new version of their Licensed To Ill classic “Paul Revere” near the end of the track. Run and DMC both sound tough and refreshed in their verses. Flavor Flav gets a verse, too, which didn’t happen on the original track. And Chuck D still sounds huge and imposing. LL Cool J, the other flagship artist of Def Jam’s early days, gets multiple shoutouts, but he sadly never appears. Listen below.
While you’re at it, you can stream Public Enemy’s entire album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? here:
What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? is out now on Def Jam.