Despite the wet afternoon's non-stop downpour plus a sketchy job by the sound man for over half of the four hour event, Sunday's Public Enemy headlined show in New York City's Central Park was both inspiring and entertaining. The always outspoken Chuck D shared many insights and personally invited hip-hop creator DJ Kool Herc onto the bill, as well as genre pioneers the Cold Crush Brothers, the recently reformed group Son of Bazerk, Kendo the Almost Famous, and Brooklyn-based, Ghana-born emcee Blitz the Ambassador. Add to that a supercharged (musically & politically) set by Public Enemy (PE) with a full live band, featuring a drum solo by Flavor Flav and scratch routine by DJ Lord, that included PE ripping through a barrage of familiar hits like "Don't Believe the Hype," "Bring The Noise," and "Fight The Power" that had the rained on but happy and totally packed outdoor audience singing and dancing along every note of the way. The concert was also a celebration of 20th year anniversary of Fear of a Black Planet.
Constantly touring the world, it is not often that Public Enemy gets to play back on their home ground. "We only play New York City about every five years-- like an eclipse," noted Chuck D, adding that PE have nothing but major love for NYC. And clearly from the enthusiastic reaction of the all ages but mostly mature hip-hop audience that had packed into Central Park's SummerStage, everyone else felt similarly about the political hip-hop group from Long Island. 23 years ago they released their landmark debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show and in the years since the Chuck D led group has never stopped demonstrating their love of hip-hop or their commitment to always being outspoken against social & political ills.