Music biographies can be a mixed bag and a multifaceted group like Public Enemy are particularly hard to write about. Myrie really does an outstanding job here. He manages to show just why Public Enemy are such an important group but also isn't afraid to examine the controversies that they've faced over the years.
This book serves as a great introduction to the band but for long term fans it's really interesting to hear what Chuck, Flav and the others have to say as they look back over the years. Kudos is due to Myrie as well for avoiding the clunky writing that spoils many music bios.
For me this book was a great read and whether you're a long time fan or just curious to see what the fuss is about I strongly recommend picking up this book.
Whilst I was down town in my local bookshop, killing an hour or two until the cinema opened, I happened to come across this book whilst browsing the music section. Truth to told I was a big PE fan, and until listening to 'Rebel without a pause, I wasn't really down with hip hop. I had no real intention of getting this, but the more I read, the more hyped I was to spend some quality time reading more. I duly copped it, and the best part of two days (it would have been quicker, but little matters like the wife & kids got in the way) devouring it. .I really enjoyed this book. My highlights were the sections that covered their early years, pre PE, how the collective ended up on 'Strong' Island, the paths that led them to hooking up. I especially enjoyed the sections that covered their four great albums: Yo! Bum rush the show, it takes a nation............, Fear of a black planet, and Apocalypse '91. Controversy was never far from Public Enemy then, and it was great to get a insight from the protagonists themselves in their own words, what with the infamous Griff with the Washington Post/Village Voice, to frictions with Def jam, and within the group. The only flaw for me upon finishing this book is the very reason that it's also a good read. Due to the fact that Russell Myrie had authorized access to the group, he is able to let them tell the story from their own recollection, as opposed to devising arguments to fit the scenario from his own reasoning. But, I think this also hampers his own view point concerning the group. For example, he try to sell the argument that time has proved that 'Muse Sick-n- Hour Mess Age is not as bad an album as some 'critics' would have you believe. Whilst I partly agree with that statement, to me, that album was the moment the group's creative juice fell off. It was also the moment the language, i.e. the swearing, increased, and continued to do so, on future releases, compared to what had gone before. Also a s my last purchase of any PE material was said' Muse Sick', and the chapters that followed, relating to events from 1994 to the present day, weren't as exciting to me as there Golden age, previously mentioned That aside I really enjoyed this biography, and would recommend it to any/all PE fans.
For my first gig in 1987 I went to see Public Enemy & I have loved their music ever since. I thought I knew a lot about their career & I have read many things about the band over time but, this book goes a little deeper than anything I've read about them before. Highly recommended from a life long fan.