Within the space of a week, both Dr. Dre and Public Enemy have released new studio albums. It’s hard not to take a step back to google something on your phone just to reassure yourself that it really is 2015 and not the early 90s. Dre’s album was primarily used as a tool to fuel the hype of the NWA film. However, P.E’s decision to make a comeback was fuelled by an unsettled political landscape in America, pretty much the same reason for their initial formation in the late 80s. Citing Kendrick Lamar and Run the Jewels as sources of inspiration, they hit the studio to create yet another record full of politically charged anthems and unique production.
To say the album is stereotypically P.E is an understatement, but that doesn’t mean we have heard it all before. They adapt a modern approach to the production, most notably on the exhilarating ‘Those Who Know Know Who’. It proves that you might not actually need multiple chaotic samples layered on top of each other to create a captivating Public Enemy album. Man Plans God Laughs doesn’t instantly demand attention like their classic releases, but 28 years into a career that’s a hard quality to maintain.
Many of the topics touched on lyrically are of vital importance. Chuck D has always had the ability to provide brash and honest views on what’s wrong with the world. On ‘Earthizen’ he gives an alphabetised rundown of some vital life advice and why you should not accept everything you are told as fact. This is why Public Enemy have always been and will continue to be an important act, not just in hip hop but in music. They mirror the social conscious of many minds around the world and use their platform to assure these people that they are not alone in their thinking.
Man Plans God Laughs will definitely not get the same amount publicity or achieve the same sales as Dr. Dre’s album did. If anything the surprise release from Dre may have slightly overshadowed the fact that the act who directly inspired NWA were also returning. However, this shouldn’t downplay the importance of this album,and of Public Enemy. They have returned, maybe not with as big of a bang as you might have hoped, but they’re here, they’re loud and they have a voice that needs to be heard.