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It Takes A Nation Explicit Lyrics

4.8 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, May 2, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Earth-shattering 2nd album feat.'Bring The Noise' & 'Don't Believe the Hype'

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It Takes a Nation of Millions was the sign that hip-hop had exploded like a grenade. A rap record as abrasive, hardcore, and eloquent as a JFK speech, the 1988 disc is one classic track after another: tense, multilayered, harmonically wild music. Chuck D. declaims like a master preacher with foil Flavor Flav's voice darting around his. They've got the desperate energy of people fighting for their lives, and everything from their pumped-up rhetoric ("Prophets of Rage") to the group's quasi-paramilitary organization to the sirens and sax squeals in nearly every track declares how urgent their mission is. It's a hugely influential album, and it still sounds fresh and frightening after all these years. --Douglas Wolk
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 1995)
  • Parental Advisory ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Def Jam
  • ASIN: B0000024K1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,165 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. B. Reynolds on February 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
All that I could say after hearing this album for the first time was "wow!" Even though the tracks here are almost two decades old, they sound much more daring, progressive, and experimental than any rap you can hear on the radio today. Is it possible that we are "de-evolving" now that perfection was already reached in 1988? I mean, I enjoy a lot of Snoop and NWA as well, but everything recorded since, say 1995 has been pretty abysmal in comparison to rap's "Golden Age." I suspect that since Chuck D. and the gang so thoroughly nailed it here, others knew that they couldn't rise to the occasion, so they didn't even try.

This album is a musical marvel, in every sense of the word. This is coming from a southern white male who was only four years old when this came out and, a mere few months ago, hated pretty much all rap. What can I say? I've been converted. Chuck D.'s militant message here is simply dead on, and while I can't quite get behind their endorsement of Farakhan, I can overlook that, because I agree completely with everything else they're laying down here. From the first track to the last, the album is a relentless indictment of government and media, from the unheard voices of urban America. And if that wasn't enough, the music is incredibly funky.

I'll take these Bomb Squad arrangements and Terminator X turntable magic over all of the over-produced pop garbage we have to put up with now any day of the week. Others have already extolled the merits of the brilliant production values and technical superiority, so all I'll say is this. The grooves here are as deep and pervasive as anything you will ever hear in popular music.
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Format: Audio CD
Perhaps the greatest rap/hip-hop album ever made, and one of the great albums of any genre. PE rock harder than any of today's gangstas with solid beats and magnificent sound collages that front eloquent raps not about violence, sexism, and nihilism, but empowerment, self-respect, and self-determination. Just as fresh today as it was in 1988. Five times five stars.
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Format: Audio CD
"Some people said rap is all noise. So, I gave them noise!"
-Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad)
A furious mixture of whistles, whines, and noise over dense samples, scratches, and beats which Shocklee later called "Music's worst nightmare." Aside from Chuck D.'s intelligent and thought provoking lyrics and Flavor Flav's hyper-active, idiotic, role playing of the court jester, it was Hank and Keith Shocklee, and Eric (Vietnam) Sadler of the bomb Squad who put PE on the map. As a whole, the group was way ahead of it's time. Boldly putting out their political views and attacking the media, PE was also unfairly attacked in the press portrayed as anti-semetic and anti-white.
From the groundbreaking "Bring The Noise", to Slayer's guitar sample on "She Watch Channel Zero", to the pulsating piano chord on "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos", PE simply shines.
Sad that this group never got the financial recognition it rightly deserved. Back in the day, I was the only one in the group of friends who worshiped PE. Everyone else couldn't handle the intelligent lyrics that [weren't] sprayed with 4 letter words.
Feed your brain. Listen to the genius that was PE and READ the lyrics.
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Format: Audio CD
There's a reason why this album is consistently listed near the top of any list of great albums, hip-hop or otherwise. The layered production and album's thematic cohesion represented a quantum leap over anything that had been released in hip-hop to that point. Yet, it doesn't sound the slightest bit dated (like, for example The Chronic) because no one was able to emulate the Bomb Squad's sound the way that G-Funk or RZA-style production were constantly bitten years later. The result is an album that was monumentally important at the time of its release, and still just as fresh and jaw-dropping nearly 20 years later.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the definitive group statement from one of hip-hop's greatest acts. Chuck D is a true force on the mic, but PE doesn't get by on his skills alone, though they certainly could. Despite rhymes that convey his considerable intelligence, he has a presence on the microphone that has rarely been matched. Even if he wasted his flows on cookie-cutter battle raps, he could do so convincingly. Fortunately for us, that isn't the case. Flava Flav, far from the caricature he is now, provides the perfect foil for Chuck. Abrasive and wild, he underscores all of Chuck D's statements like an exclamation point. Meanwhile, Terminator X and the Bomb Squad propel the backing tracks into the stratosphere with a constant barrage of samples, scratches and funky beats. Constantly self-referencing, the music here is dense and complex, adding to the epic feel of the album (though it runs just under an hour). Not to mention, they have the best song titles in all of music: "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos", "Terminator X on the Edge of Panic", etc.
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