With only a month until the much-anticipated release of their reunion album, the original lineup of hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy have taken the recording of their first release in 10 years down to the wire.
Although He Got Game -- Resurrection is slated to hit stores on April 28, the pioneering and highly influential rap group only finished recording the disc -- which by all accounts will be a mix of hard-core rap and psychedelic thrash -- on Tuesday, according to Kim Norsworthy, publicist for Public Enemy leader Chuck D.
The album -- which will serve as the soundtrack to Spike Lee's upcoming basketball film, "He Got Game," and which features a guest appearance by folk-rocker Stephen Stills -- marks the first P.E. collaboration in a decade by the band's original lineup: rapper Chuck D, a.k.a. Carlton Ridenhour; rapper Flava Flav, a.k.a. William Drayton; DJ Terminator X, a.k.a. Norman Lee Rogers; and "Minister of Information" Professor Griff, a.k.a. Richard Griffin. Griff was booted from the band in 1989, after making anti-Semitic remarks during an interview with the Washington Times newspaper.
Last year, D told SonicNet Music News that the new album would sound like "Redman vs. Rage Against the Machine vs. Pink Floyd." Although she
has not yet heard the full album, Norsworthy described the collection as
"varied" in sound.
"That was Chuck's instinct going into it," she said.
Among the tunes slated for the release, "Resurrection" is considered a hard-core track that comes off as "very dirty, gritty hip-hop," Norsworthy said.
An additional element in P.E.'s last-minute approach is song
selection for the album, which is expected to run into the 11th hour,
Norsworthy said. Neither the track listing nor the number of cuts on the album will be considered final until the album is mastered in the coming days, she added.
Several artists, including some surprises, stepped in to lend a hand with the disc. Hip-hop veteran KRS-One finished laying down his vocals for a still-untitled track earlier this week. In addition, Wu-Tang Clan member Masta Killah added rhymes to "Resurrection."
The strangest assist, however, came from folk-rocker Stills of Crosby, Stills, & Nash fame, who sang and played guitar on the album's first single, "He Got Game." The tune samples "For What It's Worth," the 1960s anthem by Stills' former psychedelic-folk-rock outfit, Buffalo Springfield.
"They threw some surprises in there, but they are also very true to the
essence of the P.E. sound," said Norsworthy, who added that the album is
being produced by Hank Shocklee's Bomb Squad, the team that helped create
Public Enemy's aggressive sound in the late '80s.
Lee recently wrapped up filming for the "He Got Game" video in lower
Manhattan. The song is scheduled to be shipped to radio in the second week
"I think people will be surprised that Stephen Stills played guitar,"
Norsworthy said. "In the rough cut of the video, Stephen Stills plays at
the end. There's all this Public Enemy action and different stills from
the film, and then, all of a sudden, there's Stephen Stills and his cowboy
hat and his guitar."