Public Enemy-Fear Of A Black Planet

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Fear of a Black Planet is the third studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released on April 10, 1990, by Def Jam Recordings and Columbia Records. It was produced by the group's production team The Bomb Squad, who sought to expand on the dense, sample-layered sound of Public Enemy's previous album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988). Having fulfilled their initial creative ambitions with that album, Public Enemy pursued a different direction and aspired to create what the group's lead rapper Chuck D called "a deep, complex album". Their songwriting was partly inspired by the controversy with member Professor Griff and his dismissal from the group in 1989. Fear of a Black Planet features elaborate sound collages that incorporate varying rhythms, numerous samples, media sound bites, and eccentric loops, reflecting the songs' confrontational tone. Recorded during the golden age of hip hop, its assemblage of reconfigured and recontextualized aural sources preceded the sample clearance system that later emerged in the music industry. Fear of a Black Planet explores themes about organization and empowerment within the black community, social issues affecting African Americans, and race relations at the time. The record's criticism of institutional racism, White supremacy, and the power elite was partly inspired by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing's views on color. A critical and commercial success in 1990, Fear of a Black Planet sold two million copies in the United States and received rave reviews from critics, many of whom named it one the year's best albums. Its immediate success contributed significantly to the popularity of Afrocentric and political subject matter in hip hop and the genre's mainstream resurgence at the time. Since then, it has been viewed as one of hip hop's greatest and most important records, as well as being musically and culturally significant. In 2003, Fear of a Black Planet was ranked number 300 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2005, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry.