Review #15: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy

Karla Clifton
3 min readJan 18, 2021

#15: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy

Would you believe that I listened to this whole album without realizing that Flavor Flav was in Public Enemy? Flavor Flav, of the giant clock necklaces! How could I not have known that before? (It’s because my musical knowledge is shamefully selective.)

Fun fact, apparently Rick Rubin of Def Jam wanted to sign Chuck D (who I have never heard of) as a solo act, but Chuck insisted that Flav be included. Aww.


“Countdown to Armageddon” — So this is really embarrassing but I’ve heard this song (which is just an announcer introducing Public Enemy onstage) sampled before by this Welsh band that I love called the Manic Street Preachers in a song called “Repeat.” You’ll find that I’m much more up-to-date on my BritPop than my rap, and if you could see how easily I burn in the sun, you would see why.

“Bring The Noise” — The introduction of YEAH BOIII. I had some difficulty researching whether or not Flavor Flav truly gave the world it’s first “yeah boi,” but I was able to determine that Flav certainly gave the phrase its staying power.

“Don’t Believe The Hype” — My favorite one! I believe the hype completely.

“Terminator X to the Edge of Pain” — Sirens. I have a complicated relationship with the sirens in the background. Part of me thinks they’re really fun, part of me thinks they may as well have put jackhammer noises in the background. That being said, on this song I didn’t mind them so much.

“Louder Than a Bomb” — Oh I love this. You know, I think I prefer Chuck D to Flavor Flav infinitely, but I still like that Flav is there.

“She Watch Channel Zero?!” — This is a metal song! I love the guitars.

“Night of the Living Baseheads” — Another one that rides the line between annoying me and making me dance along — mostly I was dancing.

“Black Steel In The House of Chaos” — Probably the most iconic intro to a rap song ever: I got a letter from the government the other day/I opened it and read it/It said they were suckers. You know, every letter I’ve ever gotten from the government has said the exact same thing.

“Rebel Without A Pause” — I appreciate Flavor Flav the most in this song. BRING THAT BEAT BACK!

“Party For Your Right To Fight” — A take on a Beastie Boys song!!! This album is full of samples, but this song in particular has some of the best ones.


“Cold Lampin’ With Flavor” That’s right, Flavor’s going solo! You know, I see where Rick Rubin was coming from.

“Mind Terrorist” — This song made me go back and count the total number of YEAH BOIIIs on the album. I only got 9, but…

“Caught, Can We Get a Witness?” — …on this one, Flav says YEAH and BOIII at least six or seven times each nonconsecutively.


I’m gonna say no! You can’t deny the cultural footprint made by Flavor Flav and the album that gifted him to the world.

Review #14: Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones

Review #16: London Calling, The Clash