Just when we needed them the most, and not unlike some crazy and fucked up superheroes or X-Men castoffs, they showed up full force, mics in hand and ready to fight the powers that be. Armed with decades of anger, Chuck D, Flavor Flav and company let us know that it is still up to us to question authority, to doubt the man’s control over us, this past Tuesday in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
Growing up in the golden age of hip-hop, I was always drawn to the acts that stood up against/for something, anything really. And with crews like Public Enemy and N.W.A., it was shocking and unnerving what they were raging against. Coming from a small New England town, I didn’t quite grasp police brutality, blatant racism, or profiling, but I certainly could hear the anger, the frustration and sadness that was coming through the boombox. Shortly after, I too rebelled, but for no real reason other than to be an asshole.
Many years later, I have a real reason and many of you have a reason to be pissed. Police brutality is, now more than ever, a huge problem, as we know so well living here in NYC. There’s a racist, sexist, vile-pig of a human running for the Presidency. The poor get poorer while the uber-rich, want more and more from us while trying to pry Social Security and reasonable health-care to those that need it. Public Enemy understands all of this, and they are still disgusted and let everybody know during their spirited performance.
Chuck D and crew played all the hits like “Bring The Noise,” “Fight The Power,” “Welcome To The Terrordome” and “911 Is A Joke,” but let their anger be heard quite often during their hour-long gig. While the dialog between songs was fierce – their performance was a fucking blast – how can you not be happy when Flavor Flav is doing his ragdoll dance while Chuck D is spitting rhymes that make you lose your mind.
Summerstage really nailed this show for the right community in Brownsville, and a lot of props must go out to their never ending quest to bring free music to the masses that may not be able to afford it otherwise. When even the cops were dancing around and they’re the ones getting blasted from the stage, it’s a good night.
Article: Shayne Hanley