Free Music Download: Public Enemy "Nothing Is Quick In The Desert"
Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:17:22
It's been just over 30 years since Public Enemy formed as a group. Fronted by Chuck D and hyped by larger-than-life Flavor Flav the band has never really known subtlety — they led the caustic assault of hip hop into urban homes around the globe, and Chuck D has never relented in his politically charged, culturally astute rant from the urban perspective. When they flew they truly soared, and when they dropped rhymes they did so with the most efficient and well-landed ordinance.
To celebrate three decades in the game Public Enemy dropped a new album, Nothing Is Quick In The Desert, as a free download. Initially the free download run ended on July 4th — a political gesture of sorts, the kind of thing we'd expect from Chuck and the boys — but now it's back online over at DatPiff, and your opportunity to grab a free copy is back within reach, and totally legit.
The album, the fourteenth studio release in the band's career, was issued with very little preview or hype. This is one aimed for the completists, the die-hards and those in pursuit of Chuck D as he is now — a kind of crotchety elder statesman of the genre.
There's a self-seriousness to the album, which older fans will appreciate. Public Enemy were never known for the same kind of wit as tourmates and long time friends the Beastie Boys, and their lack of lightness has led them to trip over themselves at times. As most good artists who have endured any sustained period of time, Public Enemy have faltered, and sometimes fallen. Here, the tone is less of a fault, and more of a character trait, there are no missteps, but the strides that Public Enemy once took aren't as possible as they once were.
However, amidst the clunky, and not always convincing rhymes that Chuck D delivers — sometimes shoehorning words to make political issues from pop cultural landmarks — Flavor Flav drops in the odd chant, a shriek, or a rasped rhyme that rewards the listener for tuning in. The levity comes as welcome relief — even if the subject matter frames the age of the rappers in strange perspective against the current-not-so-current scene.
Hearing Flav rap, "Kanye marrying Kim/Bruce Jenner turned to femme," as Chuck D chants, "What happened?!" is a moment of self-seriousness that shows the well-meaning but not quite right view of men castrated by time. Surely more pressing things are happening in the world this week, this month, this year, this decade? It's endearing, but it's lacks the danger or vitality that fans expect and deserve.
Producer David Snyder, "CDOC", captures the Public Enemy process well, and there are moments where beats echo the very best of old school hip hop. Characteristic, bombastic beats and bulkier loops pave the way for tracks that simply demand volume. It's the beats that remain the most effective weapon in Public Enemy's arsenal, and they prop up this album with incredible gravity. There are guitar riffs too that loop, distort and lend dressing to the flow — they're used sparingly and so smartly enhance the whole.
Nothing Is Quick In The Desert is a mixed bag of moments from an iconic band. It dips from cruising altitude, and feels like it's struggling to regain height — but perhaps this is the new normal; a muted account of anger that has asserted its place in the sky — circling until it finds a runway on which to land, or a target on which to truly unload it's cargo.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff