There's a Poison Goin' On... [Bonus Tracks]

There's a Poison Goin' On... [Bonus Tracks]

by Public Enemy
     
 

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Public Enemy fans who found the Stephen Stills collaboration on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's HE GOT GAME a bit tepid by the standards of classics like FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET will welcome the group's refreshingly vitriolic letter-bomb to the music industry. Arriving in a shroud of controversy

Overview

Public Enemy fans who found the Stephen Stills collaboration on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's HE GOT GAME a bit tepid by the standards of classics like FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET will welcome the group's refreshingly vitriolic letter-bomb to the music industry. Arriving in a shroud of controversy surrounding the group's dismissal from their longtime label, Def Jam, THERE'S A POISON GOIN' ON (originally scheduled to be an Internet-only release) attacks the "vultures of culture" -- from twisted record companies to corrupt DJs to the entire system of race- and class-based oppression -- in ominous, subterranean tracks that, if not as rousing as the classics of old, are just as cathartic. "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" sets terrifying metal-machine music to lines like "It takes a nation of sellouts to hold us back" before implicating Da Man in the murders of Biggie and 2Pac and the death of hip-hop's vitality itself. "LSD" is apocalyptic compu-hop that might make Brooklyn underground leftists Company Flow smile. But the most controversial track here is "Swindler's Lust," which (vile anti-Semitic title aside) righteously attacks the hamstringing of recording artists with the line "If you don't own the master/ Then the master owns you." So, even if you don't believe the gripes -- that the Pentagon is in bed with Sony, that Top 40 radio is mind control, that the cyber-revolution is a return to the plantation system, that Lauryn Hill is a drone -- you won't be able to deny that Chuck D and Flava Flav haven't sounded this wicked in quite some time.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Opening with a sonic collage straight out of Fear of a Black Planet, There's a Poison Goin' On. . . comes out of the gates sounding like classic Public Enemy, which is exactly what Public Enemy intended, since their slight sonic change-up on He Got Game didn't result in a hit. In a way, PE's feud with Def Jam over downloadable MP3 music was a good thing, since it brought them media attention, which is rare for a veteran hip-hop band. Such increased exposure also brought a minor controversy over "Swindlers Lust," which some perceived as anti-Semitic, but this outrage was isolated because Public Enemy was now at the margins of hip-hop. They were no longer considered cutting-edge, and younger kids never picked up their records, so the only place for this controversy to reside was among the rock critics and aging fans who remembered when It Takes a Nation of Millions changed the world ten years prior. Chuck D must have known that they would be the only ones paying attention to the album, since it consciously copies PE's past and never really breaks from that blueprint. In some respects, that's a disappointment, since He Got Game showed that PE could subtly incorporate modern hip-hop, and do it better than some modern acts. But There's a Poison Goin' On is nevertheless a strong album, even if it is doggedly classicist. It's also dogmatic, with Chuck preaching to the converted about the evils of the record industry and conformity in hip-hop, which does become a little trying by the end of the record. But he delivers lyrically and PE delivers musically, in a manner that's entirely familiar to fans of Public Enemy, offering a solid continuation of Apocalypse 91. Ultimately, it's their most satisfying record in several years -- which is a subtle difference that only the converted will notice. [The album was reissued in 2004 via Koch with bonus tracks.]

Product Details

Release Date:
01/20/2004
Label:
Koch Records
UPC:
0099923953524
catalogNumber:
9535
Rank:
179957

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