Public Enemy will return to Def Jam Recordings after more than two decades with the upcoming album What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down, due out on Sept. 25.
The reunion with their original label home was announced on Friday morning (Aug. 28), with leader Chuck D explaining, “Cultural Institutions are important. Being an integral part of one is an honor bestowed and to uphold. Public Enemy songs are forever sonic prints in the sands of time. And it’s time – it’s necessary – to bring the noise again from a place called home. Def Jam.”
Legendary hype man and fellow P.E. icon Flavor Flav seconded D’s emotion, adding, “Def Jam is like the house we grew up in. It’s cool to be home.” The return was heralded by the release of the 2000 Remix of the group’s iconic anthem “Fight The Power,” which opened the 2020 BET Awards in June and features Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, Jahi and Questlove.
The new version of the Grammy-winning anthem that first appeared on the 1989 soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and was later included on P.E.’s 1990 landmark album Fear of a Black Planet is the first taste of the album. It features new lyrics that comment on the protests over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the daily scourge of police brutality against Black and brown bodies, as well as one of D’s incendiary original verses.
“Like so many of us, I have long been a Public Enemy fan, and the group was incredibly formative for me and the path I would take,” said Def Jam Chairman & CEO, UMG General Counsel Jeff Harleston in a statement. “PE has consistently been a living example of how music can profoundly move and unite people, and affect real change in the national conversation. As we continue to confront inequality and injustice, we need PE’s voice in the national dialogue. Def Jam is proud to partner with Chuck and welcome Public Enemy home.”
P.E. released the DJ Premier-produced Trump-bashing song “State of the Union (STFU).” “For true fans of hip-hop all over the world, this is a historic moment,” noted Def Jam GM & EVP Rich Isaacson in a statement. “Bringing Public Enemy home to Def Jam – in a time when their message is more necessary than ever – is a profound statement and a much-needed reunion. We are beyond excited to once again lock arms with the legendary Public Enemy.”
Listen to “Fight the Power (Remix 2020)” below.