Today In Hip-Hop: Public Enemy Releases “Fear Of A Black Planet”

On this day, April 10, in hip-hop history…


1990: Public Enemy releases its third album Fear of a Black Planet. Following the success of 1988′s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the Long Island crew sought to create a conceptual album that translated noted psychiatrist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s “Cress Theory of Color Confrontation” into musical form. Utilizing the Bomb Squad’s trademark sample-heavy “wall of noise” production stylings, the newly christened industry standard of the LP and Chuck’s political rhymes, PE set out to make what Chuck D would later describe as the hip-hop equivalent of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Upon its release, Fear of a Black Planet was met with universal critical acclaim. It debuted at #40 on Billboard’s Top Pop Albums chart with 1 million copies sold in its first week. By July 1990, Fear of a Black Planet had sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide and spent over 10 weeks on Billboard. In the years following its release, the album has become one of hip-hop’s most celebrated works and one of Public Enemy’s crowning achievements.

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