Public Enemy have uploaded a new video for “GRID” featuring B-Real of Cypress Hill and George Clinton. The animation illustrates the lyrics as they tackle internet reliance and the presence of the government in the media.
“GRID” is the latest single from Public Enemy’s latest album, What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?, which came out September 25 via Def Jam. The group performed it a few days after the album’s release for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Fitting for a return to Def Jam, the song is stylistically representative of their old school hip hop sound. The beat plays up a steady drum rhythm, adding a danceable bass groove during the verses, occasionally throwing in some turntable scratches and horns and finishing with a rocking guitar solo.
Political lyrics complete the track, with rhymes like “Aww shit, no more GRID (Here we go!)/We all addicted, men, women and kids/No internet, no text and no tweets/We’ll look like the 80’s (With fiends in the streets)/Aww snap! No apps just maybe perhaps (Where you at?)/No GRID is what we need for new human contact” and “I gotta theory if you hear me but you wanna fear me/Dumb us down then divide us up I see it clearly/Pit one against the other even though we’re brothers/Make us hate each other while they keep their asses covered.”
In the video, simple animations of computer-made drawings closely match the lyrical content. There’s several clips of the rappers singing into megaphones and fists raised in the air in front of a burning skyline. At one point, there’s a Scooby Doo parody where the gang reveals a ghost to be President Donald Trump. The video was directed by Ice the Endless, and credits the backgrounds to ThatOneDudeZach and the visual effects to RMELL and ARTJCON.
Previous singles “Fight the Power: Remix 2020” and “State of the Union (STFU)” deal more with protesting against police brutality and sharing honest thoughts about how Donald Trump handled the protests. Public Enemy have long been agents of change, and they’re just as confident about questioning authority as they were when they first began their career in the late 1980’s.
Public Enemy have notably collaborated with B-Real recently as part of Prophets of Rage, the supergroup made up of Rage Against the Machine’s band, Chuck D, DJ Lord and B-Real. In April, B-Real released a full-length album collaboration with west coast rapper Berner, called Los Meros.
George Clinton, best known as the frontman for Parliament/Funkadelic, last released Parliament’s first album in 38 years, Medicaid Fraud Dogg. He’s featured on some other albums since then, including Flying Lotus’ Flamagra.
Photo credit: April Siese