by / July 21st, 2010 /

Don’t Rhyme for the sake of Riddlin’: The Authorised Story of Public Enemy

An engaging if slightly lightweight book telling the detailed story of the early shaping of PE from the days of Spectrum and underground college radio – to the superstar status of the late ’80s and beyond. Written by a fan for fans it occasionally overlooks or assumes knowledge of some essential facts and is at points overindulgent about the band’s place in history.

Chuck D may be a god amongst men and the obvious leader of this tight outfit, and his upbringing and aim for the band are handled well. Likewise the departures of Terminator X or Professor Griff are looked into but not over played. The role of Flavor Flav as court jester but more generally as a comedic diversion does not deflect from the fact that as a band, their important message is delivered with eloquence as well as power. There is even a balanced commentary on Flav’s later love affair with Brigitte Nielsen, which after the celebrity dust has settled seems to have been genuine. In the interests of balance, Myrie does not shy away from reminding the reader of Flav’s darker relationships of the past.

Although the author)’s energy and enthusiasm are commendable and make you want to go and listen to PE music, it is a bit over the top in a desire to stress how forward thinking and revolutionary the band are, because unfortunately a lot of their albums don’t stand the test of time. Whilst you shouldn’t believe the hype – do read the book! Overall worth a read for fans and those with a passing interest in the godfathers of hip hop.