Rick Rubin Recalls Working On Public Enemy's Second Album, Praises Chuck D

posted Wednesday July 03 ,2013 at 10:16PM CDT | 31 comments

Rick Rubin Recalls Working On Public Enemy's Second Album, Praises Chuck D

Rick Rubin says Public Enemy's second project earned them their fan base.

Though Rick Rubin has been connected with Kanye West's Yeezus and Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail, the legendary producer hasn't worked on many Hip Hop records in recent years.

In an interview with XXLMag.com, Rubin reflected on a number of Hip Hop albums in his production discography, many of them going back to Def Jam's early days.

One album that stood out was Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, in that Rubin claims he was more removed from the project than others.

“I played more of an advisory role with Public Enemy," he explained. "I really trusted them to make the music that they wanted to make, and the way The Bomb Squad worked with them…they created their whole own world of music. They would always ask me to come to the studio and I would check in on things and I’d make suggestions and stuff, but for the most part, the closer it was to [Chuck D's] vision, the better."

Rubin heaped praise onto Chuck D in particular, whose distinctive style and subject matter separated him from other emcees at the time. "[Chuck] didn’t really sound like anyone else. He had authority in his voice, and maybe some anger that not many emcees had at that time. He seemed more literate, and more angry, and it was a very interesting combination at a time when there were not many great Hip Hop artists. Even though he wasn’t making records when I met him, I could tell he was a special one and he needed to be heard. I think Chuck’s always had a great point of view and interesting things to say, which kind of separated him from all the other emcees."

Rick drew comparisons between It Takes a Nation and the group's debut, Yo! Bum Rush the Show. "They really stepped up [with Nation], but with that said, I really loved their first album too. I loved their first album. But there’s a reference on the second album where Chuck says, ‘Last time you played the music, this time you play the lyrics.’ What he’s talking about is that when the first Public Enemy album came out, on the mix shows—which was the only place that played Hip Hop in those days—they would only play the instrumental versions of the songs. They wouldn’t play Chuck, because it was too different."

Ultimately, Rubin explained that Nation put PE on the map. “At the time Public Enemy came out, they were the least successful group on Def Jam, and it wasn’t until the second album when people started accepting him and got used to it. It was just so radical at first that when people heard it, they didn’t want that. Nation was important in that Public Enemy was the first group to really talk about serious political stuff, so that’s an exciting and important thing.”

Throughout his career, Rick Rubin contributed to early projects by LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, The Geto Boys, and more.

RELATED: Rick Rubin Details "Magna Carta Holy Grail" Specifics

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Comments 31 Posts

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  • Beta
    I love Rubins work on Sabbaths 13 (and of course It Takes A Nation is a straight classic).
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  • Bobyahed2dis
    Pubic enemy was wack and chuck d was overrated on the mic. the only semi decent rapper was Flava Flav and even he can't hold a torch to the god mc Drizzy Drake!! Young Money We Winnin!!!
    • -
    • beta
      disgusting troll
  • Mortis
    I'd cut my dick off to hear a Public Enemy album produced by Rick Rubin
    • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
    PE was dope, we need more people like them. instead we ambush Lupe Fiasco and others
  • Anonymous
    i thought that his santa was producing Christmas On Death Row album
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  • Anonymous
    santas back
  • Anonymous
    this nigga needs to get a shave, go to a rave, almost die from an overdose, then teach kids how to behave.
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  • Anonymous
    Download Jay-Z Magana Carta Holy Grail at www. hiphopgood .com get it
  • Beavus n butthead
    • Anonymous
      the real beavin dont use the n-word nigga
  • dentaldamboy
    Rick Rubin will never be at the level of producers like Mike Will, DJ Khaled and Noah 40 until he works with some legendary artists like Drake, Future and Lil Wayne.
    • killz
      I heard of crack babies, but you're a molly baby
    • Anonymous
      Crack is a dangerous drug Drake or none of the other new wave roodie poos you mentioned can't a hold the rappers he produced jock strap. He started Def Jam along with Russell Simmons . Left to start his own record label plus he's produced rock and country western albums so legendary he's all that compared to the producers you just named
    • dentaldamboy
      Rubin couldn't save Magna Carta, which is Gay Z's worst album yet.
    • A Person
      J Dilla is the GOAT producer (the best of a handful of amazing producers i.e. RZA, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, etc), no debate about that. If you even attempt to argue that, you are a fuckin idiot.
    • dentaldamboy
      J Dilla is shit.
    • -
      you have the worst taste dentaldamboy.. get your granola eating ass back to whole foods your til's backin up..
    • -
      Mike will is dope.. dj khaled never made a beat in his life
    • atom
      hahhaa youre awfully stupid
  • Anonymous
    I'm surprised why nobody asked him then why they dropped them from their label. I'm guessing that's standard procedure when you don't sell.
    • TYBO2020
    • Anonymous
      Show me, then. Your capslock is hilariously bad
    • killz
      dumbass, he didn't get dropped from a label that was his to begin with. He left to start Def American
    • Anonymous
      See? Was that so difficult?