Protest 100: Public Enemy – ‘Fight The Power’

 

 

Artist:          Public Enemy

Song:           Fight The Power

Album:        Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)

Producer:    The Bomb Squad

Label:          Def Jam

Year:           1989 (‘Do The Right Thing’ soundtrack)

Notes:
With samples ripped straight from both the civil rights movement and James Brown, an inescapable head-nodder of a beat, and lyrics that were impossible to misinterpret, ‘Fight The Power’ stands as one of the high-water marks of protest through music. The song’s genesis lies in a meeting between PE and Spike Lee, called by the latter to find a musical embodiment of late-80s racial tension in Brooklyn for his feature directorial debut, ‘Do The Right Thing.’

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ 
“The government was pleased to have such a powerful ally in its fight against social evils.”

Lyrics:

Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight
As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight

1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart ’cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweatin’
And the rhythm rhymes rollin’
Got to give us what we want (uh)
Gotta give us what we need (hey)
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
‘Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved let’s get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
To make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Elvis was a hero to most but he
Elvis was a hero to most
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check
Don’t worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) let’s get this party started right
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say (yeah)
Power to the people no delay
Make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)

What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)

Yo check this out man
OK talk to me about the future of Public Enemy
The future of Public Enemy gotta

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

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