Top critical review
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SO HERE IT IS AGAIN...ANOTHER DEF JAM!
on 24 November 2014
1988 - "Armageddon has been in effect....Go get a late pass. Step!" the opening cut from PE`s "Nation of Millions lp . Without a doubt, the greatest rap/Hip-Hop album ever with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Griff, Terminator X, Johnny Juice, the S1Ws & the Bomb Squad in top form. All this & producer Rick Rubin behind the mixing desk overseeing the most revolutionary album ever made.
2014 - 26 years on & this masterpiece finally gets the deluxe treatment from Def Jam/Universal. There was talk of a 20th Anniversary set in 2008 but this came to nothing at the time. Pleased as I am that this set has finally been put out, & Ill get straight to the point here , there are some glaring omissions. Chad Jackson`s manic DMC mixes of "Rebel" & "Bring the Noise" are missing as are the Jam Master Jay remix of "Louder than a Bomb" & the remix for "Party for Your Right" - both available on "Greatest Misses" but certainly worthy of their inclusion here.
There really should have been a 4th disc of Chuck D`s home demos & alternate versions of the album (aka: "Soul of a Nation") as it has been rumoured that Chuck wanted these out years ago but Universal baulked at the idea of clearing samples for a second time! A complete disc of instrumentals - or even the un-released versions recorded by PE`s backing band, The Banned - might have swayed it for some fans to buy the cd again.
The dvd is a nice touch as the VHS tape has never been released officially in this format. "Cold Lampin` With Flavor" appears to be missing which if true, is a criminal omission. Some period era Yo! MTV Rap or even some of PE`s European TV appearances at the time could also have been added just to remind ourselves how much of a live force the band were.
Let's also hope the liner notes are written by someone with a love of the band & what their music stands for (at the time of writing, it appears that The Roots drummer, Questlove, has penned the notes so its looking good!). Respected journalist Angus Batey has written many informative PE reviews over the years plus there were some cracking "Nation of Millions" features in HHC (issue #223) & Wax Poetics (issue #17) which really gave readers an insight into The Bomb Squad`s production techniques. A follow-up interview with iconic photographer Glen E. Friedman would also be appreciated especially on how the visual concept of the lp was put together.
Well, there's still time for Def Jam/Universal to make changes before the official release date & maybe actually take on board comments from fans who want to see a worthwhile re-release which pays respect to the original. With this in mind, a deluxe edition of "Fear of a Black Planet" (aka: "Fear of the Dark") can't be too far off...
5* for the original - 3* for the 2014 version
UPDATE Dec 2014 - The Fight the Power dvd has been edited with the SIWs intro cut & Cold Lampin` with Flavor
missing so don`t chuck away your old VHS copy just yet. The second disc clocks in at just under 46 minutes. The sleeve notes are well written but I would have also have preferred an extra chapter by Ice-t, KRS-1, Paris, DMC or Dave Pearce. The inside booklet has some rare pics of the band, but what gets my goat is that some of the pics (Chuck`s L.A Raiders jacket) are unbelievably blurred out! The original is still a stone-cold classic - this re-issue has left me a little underwhelmed......