Later this year will see the 30th Anniversary of the first time that Public Enemy cracked the charts.

30 years. A whole generation has passed since Rebel Without A Pause sneaked in to the singles chart at #37 during an eight-week stay at the end of 1987 and into the early weeks of 1988. It was interesting that their commercial break-through came over here and not at home, but then again, the new-style black rap acts were scaring the shit out of the establishment in their home nation and radio stations (as Chuck D astutely observes) just wouldn’t play them.

I owe my real appreciation of rap to Jacques the Kipper. I did own some of the more poppy side of rap such as the tunes released by Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang but I had no real appreciation of Public Enemy, Ice-T, NWA or the likes until JtK started incorporating them into his many compilation tapes. These, the four tracks that make up the 12″ version of that first hit single, are dedicated to him:-

mp3 : Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause (vocal mix)
mp3 : Public Enemy – Terminator X Speaks With His Hands
mp3 : Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause (instrumental mix)
mp3 : Public Enemy – Sophisticated Bitch

Enjoy, while feeling very old.


  1. I always wondered what Chuck D and the rest thought when they rocked up at the Barrowlands on the Def Jam tour in 1987. I think it must have been the whitest audience they ever saw.

  2. Absolute class. Like you, I wasn’t a hip-hop fan at the time this came out, but I’ve written about my Public Enemy epiphany at the Reading Festival in 1992. The hardest, heaviest, and most in-yer-face rock ‘n’ roll show I’ve ever known.

  3. Gotta love the first ever commercially released (1994) Mash-Up. By the ECC it featured Rebel Without A Pause and Bittersweet Samba. Public Enemy versus Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Magic! Whipped Creme Mixes!

    or remade here

    I went to see Chuck D talk about it Embra many years ago. They had slung out the acappellas on the early web to see what fans could come up with. The ECC’s mash-up of “By The Time I Get To Arizona” is unbelievable.

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