The Culture has been and will always be about resistance and “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy is one of hip-hop’s greatest examples and is a bonafide #CultureClassic.
“Fight The Power” has been a hip-hop anthem for over 30 years. Famously released in the summer of 1989, the song was the theme for Spike Lee‘s film Do The Right Thing, a Culture Classic in it’s own right. The song was an unflinching critique of America then (and now) and a not-so subtle call for a revolution. Speaking directly to and for frustrated African-Americans, PE frontman Chuck D put it down. Capturing both the psychological and social conflicts of the time over three verses, many call it his finest work.
Cause I’m black and I’m proud / I’m ready and hyped, plus I’m amped / Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps /Chuck D, “Fight The Power
So much is incorporated into the song a college thesis could be written about it. Various samples and DJ cuts alongside allusions to African-American culture, including civil rights exhortations, black church services, and the music of James Brown. The song was produced by PE’s in-house production team The Bomb Squad.
And the music video has to get a mention. Directed by Spike Lee himself, the video depicts a large march that is part civil rights march and part black pride parade. A sea of black people peaceful yet emphatically congregating is and will forever be a powerful visual.
A cultural critique you can jam to. “Fight The Power” serves as the perfect summation of both Public Enemy’s musical sound and lyrical ideology. Militant. pro-black, and anti-establishment, “Fight The Power” is a particular powerful and important #CultureClassic.
If you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy then check out more of our hip-hop #CultureClassics:
Written by @TalentedMrFord