Today in Hip-Hop: Public Enemy Drops ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ Album
On this day, April 10, in hip-hop history…
1990: Public Enemy released their third album, Fear of a Black Planet, on April 10, 1990. 2015 marked the 27th anniversary of the complex and legendary LP.
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 The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation into a musical form. They utilized the Bomb Squad's trademark sample-heavy "wall of noise" production stylings and the newly christened industry standard of the LP and Chuck's political rhymes, crafting 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 critical acclaim. The album debuted at No. 10 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 the Billboard charts. The album was certified platinum by RIAA. In the years following its release, the album has become one of hip-hop's most celebrated works and Public Enemy's crowning achievement.
Holding such political and societal influence, in 2005, the U.S. Library of Congress added Fear of a Black Planet to the National Recording Registry. In 2014, as a part of Def Jam's 30th anniversary celebration, the label reissued Fear of a Black Planet along with It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
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