As the producer behind a number of works from Long Island, New York-based group Public Enemy, Hank Shocklee recently spoke on his work with the iconic group, during an interview with The Quietus. Shocklee first recalled working on Public Enemy’s debut album, Yo! Bum Rush The Show.
According to Shocklee, he was working on Public Enemy’s debut, years before the group was picked up by Rick Rubin and signed to Def Jam Records. He then revealed that when it concerns making music, he prefers to create a body of work rather than create records for placement on a certain project.
“You have to remember, I was working on Bum Rush for three years before Rick Rubin even decided he wanted to sign us,” Shocklee said. “It wasn’t like he signed the group and then we decided to make the record. I anticipated doing the record. Where and how we’d do it was a whole other question. But three years was spent on developing the concept and the style and sound. I’ve never believed in making an album for release. I just believe in making a lot of music and then you’re picking from those sources when it’s time to release. So you create this body of work. And then when you need an album you cherry pick. So you can create something more cohesive and tell a better story.”
The Public Enemy beatsmith continued to speak on his work on Yo! Bum Rush The Show, stating that the idea for the album initially started with just a single. He also added that the entire project was created using only $12,000.
“How this all started with Bum Rush was, Rick asked us to do a single,” he said. “And me and Chuck delivered seven tracks. I knew that I wanted to get an album out, because I knew that doing a single with a company like Sony behind it was a waste of time. Because I already knew that Sony was inept at promoting singles. So it had be an album from the start, otherwise PE wouldn’t have made any traction. So that album had to be done at the cost of a single. When you listen to Yo! Bum Rush The Show… Quick. It was quick.
“The total expenditure on that record was $12,000,” the producer added. “We’d been given $5,000 for the single so for an extra $7,000 you got a whole album. So that was an easier sell to Def Jam. And I already knew they were pulling $225,000 from Sony. So immediately the record was in the black. And keep in mind at that time LL Cool J, Beastie Boys; those guys were spending close to half a million dollars on the records. So we broke the mold and came in ridiculously under budget.”
To read Hank Shocklee’s interview in its entirety, visit The Quietus.
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