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Once More, Band Shows No Mercy Against the Bad Guys

Record Rack

*** PUBLIC ENEMY, "There's a Poison Goin On . . .," Atomic Pop

June 19, 1999|SOREN BAKER

Returning to the aggressive sound that helped thrust it into the spotlight, this seminal rap group comes off as belligerent as ever on its new album. Targeting a particular set of problems has become a PE trademark over the years, and on this set the primary adversaries are the greedy powers that be--record company owners and the government, among others--that suffocate and exploit the people who line their pockets.

The eerie "Swindlers Lust," which finds leader Chuck D abandoning his signature bombastic delivery in favor of a biting, spoken-word flow, has to be one of the most scathing critiques of the music industry ever recorded. In fact, shady record company practices are chastised in many of the collection's 14 cuts. Primary producer Tom E. Hawk assembles a chaotic mix of wailing guitars, bizarre sound effects and crashing drums that matches the intensity of Chuck and partner Flavor Flav's lightning raps.

In salute to the technological revolution that Public Enemy believes is currently underway, the album is currently available on-line at http://www.atomicpop.com (for ordering and downloading) and at http://www.amazon.com (for ordering), and will not be in record stores until July 13.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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