Hip-hop fans should thank God for Public Enemy. They are one of the few hip-hop groups that never conformed and constantly release interesting and unique work. "Revolverlution" is part one of a three part set. Chuck D describes it as "A trilogy within a trilogy within a trilogy." As always, Public Enemy maintain their credibility while doing something different.
A majority of the album is new material. There are four remixes of PE classics. Fans (who were also DJs) downloaded acapella versions of these classic tracks from the P.E. website. Then, the fans remixed the songs. The winners have the honor of having their remix on the LP. Lastly, there are some live tracks of some PE classics. There are a couple of "PESA" or "Public Enemy Service Announcements." Two songs by Professor Griff's new rock/rap band. Not just that, but also some interviews and old behind-the-scenes recordings sandwiched in between the tracks. As a whole, the LP is a unique experience for new and old Public Enemy fans. It aims to have something for everybody and hits the target.
The new songs all hit hard and become the jewels in the crown of this album. Chuck D commands the attention of the listener. His voice hits hard like a bat. The Joe Clark of hip-hop. "Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need" (produced by Johnny Juice) kicks the album off with a strong and upbeat rhythm. With Flava Flav backing him, Chuck D rides the beat with authority and wisdom. The extreme precision of the scratching is mind-blowing. It's an incredible track, Chuck D rocks a performance turning the track into a modern classic. There's also a remix of it with Paris towards the end of the album. "Can A Woman Make A Man Lose His Mind?"(produced by Gary G-Wiz & Amani K. Smith) can be considered to be another classic Public Enemy track. In the same humorous vein as '911 Is A Joke," Flava Flav handles this track by himself. It almost sounds like he free-styled the whole thing; light-hearted, funny and very catchy.
The title track "Revolverlution" is an interesting track that takes a little time to grow on you. Flav handles the hook with some incredible production behind him, of course Chuck D rocks the mic with the usual ferocity. Two other tracks also pack a good punch. "5,4,3,2,1 Boom!" and "Get Your Sh*t Together" are solid PE tracks. During "Get Your Sh*t Together" (produced by Johnny Juice), Chuck D calls out to the masses over a slow beat that chugs along with some short exciting horn samples. The scratching is also well done, and mentions how serious the problems of today's world are. "…I guess 9-11 ain't no joke…" The remixes are cool additions which bring a feeling of familiarity to the album. "By The Time I Get To Arizona (The Moleman Mix)" is very wild because the beat continuously changes more and more with metallic drums, eerie noises and wild sound effects. "B-Side Wins Again (Scattershot Remix)" is relatively unimpressive due to the weak beat. In the middle of new and live tracks, these tracks give something to the old PE fans while simultaneously giving them something new.
Out of the three so-called rock tracks, there is only one worth listening to. Chuck D becomes a somewhat of a political rock star on "Son Of Bush." He's not flowing or rapping to the beat. Claiming that Bush stole the past election, Chuck D and Flava Flav rock the hook by yelling "He's a son of a bad man! - Son of a Bush!" Chuck is direct and very angry as he questions what is going on in today's political arena. Even though the song is too long and breaks up the flow of the album, it works in a weird way due to Chuck's powerful performance. Professor Griff adds his insight on the two other rock tracks singing about Vietnam and other wars. The anger is justified but the execution is not.
The live songs are all decent but do not pack the powerful punch like the remixes. Live versions of "Fight The Power," "Welcome To The Terrordome" and "Mizuzi Weighs A Ton" all display the intensity of a live Public Enemy show. Even though these live tracks are decent, they're not really a worthy addition to the album. The other interludes are unnecessary too but are little additions for the die-hard P.E. lovers. The "PESA's" are basically useless even though their message is not. Still, can we take Flava Flav seriously when he tells us to "stay away from drugs"?
The beautiful thing about Public Enemy is that they are revolutionary on many levels. Sure, Chuck D is an outspoken revolutionary man when it comes to politics and approaching the microphone but the revolutionary aspects of PE do not end there. The group is revolutionary when it comes to the construction and production of beats and LP's. By having new tracks mixed in with remixes and live recordings, Public Enemy has created a new type of record. It's not totally a new LP. It's not a remix album. It's not a live album either. The studio tracks with Chuck D and Flav are very well done and most of the remixes are well done too. The two tracks led by Griff not only disrupt the album's already somewhat choppy flow but they are unneeded even though they share the group's attitude. It's this mixture of old and new along with extra stuff that brings a high level of variety to the album. It is an extremely diverse LP. The brand new studio tracks and the bold remixes make this album enjoyable. Overall, "Revolverlution" is an interesting listen for both old and new fans of Public Enemy.