This was one of the slots I filled in the quickest, maybe because it hasn’t changed in twenty years. I’ve made heavy rock mixtapes for people that have started with this song, because I don’t know any song that hits harder than this. When that ‘Chuh-chuh!’ drops and the beat kicks in properly, oh my lawd. I know I was in eighth grade when I heard this song for the first time, I know I didn’t understand half the lyrics, and I know that my deeper understanding of the lyrics can probably be directly correlated to my understanding of contemporary black history and readings on race relations in America.
As for the song, I can’t say I’ve always been completely in love with The Bomb Squad’s production methods, there was an affection for the squawkiest of Maceo Parker sax notes on ‘Nation of Millions….’ that kept me from loving that album as much as I should have. This song took that ‘noise orchestra’ aesthetic but amped up the funk, social change through hip shaking and head bobbing. Still the heaviest song I know.
And come on: ‘Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me, you see straight up racist the sucker was simple and plain. Motherfuck him and John Wayne.’ A grenade launched at the passivity of a white middle America that had long ago turned its back on the plight of the black poor in the urban areas. To drop that line with the sort of taunting rage in both Chuck and Flav’s voices…that takes balls of steel.
Honourable Mention: Yesterday I talked about DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing,’ an album I bought without hearing any of the songs on it, and how that never happens. Not too too long after that I bought this album after seeing the video late one Friday night on Muchmusic. I was a little blown away by the fact that I enjoyed a screamy punk song so much, a fact I attributed to the James Brown swagger that emerged throughout the track [‘One mooore time, oww!’]. The album was called ‘The Shape of Punk to Come,’ and to this day I wish more people would have followed that blueprint. If you’ve never heard it, find it. It’s probably some of your favourite bands’ favourite album. By the time the crowd roars at the closing moments of this track, I’m usually whipped into a fury.