Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Public Enemy: What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down? [Def Jam, 2020]
Loud though they've kept it, many don't realize that they've never stopped making good albums, so between this, their first Def Jam title of the century, and 2012's self-released Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp is a closer call than you might think. The historical moment trashed in "State of the Union (STFU)" plus a host of committed cameos--George Clinton, Beastie Boys, Rapsody, Ice-T, Black Thought, Cypress Hill, it don't stop--is what seals the deal for the new one. But "State of the Union" isn't the album title because Chuck has bigger things on his mind as he always does: the dependence of everybody's world economy on an information system susceptible to attack from actors who could prove as dangerous as Donald Trump himself. Probably won't happen, you say? I agree while wondering how much wishful thinking slants my analysis. And second Chuck's one concrete piece of advice: read a book. My brutha! A-