Music's best political propaganda -- which ranges from Merle Haggard on the right to Joan Baez, Public Enemy, Bob Marley, and U2 on the left -- offers more than just rhetoric. It makes its case with coherent, well-reasoned arguments. Whether you agree or disagree with Haggard's stridently conservative "The Fighting Side of Me" or Marley's left-leaning Rastafarian manifesto "Get Up, Stand Up," those songs are political masterpieces. Planet of da Apes, Da Lench Mob's second album, is a fiercely political effort that doesn't contain any masterpieces. Combining a strong Public Enemy influence with West Coast gangsta rap, Ice Cube's L.A. colleagues provide a lot of inflammatory, militant rhetoric, but don't provide any lyrics that you could call brilliant. None of the tunes are in a class with Ice-T's "Colors," Public Enemy's "Night of the Living Baseheads," Boogie Down Productions' "South Bronx," or Grandmaster Flash's "New York, New York"; those sociopolitical rap classics are nothing short of brilliant, whereas Planet of da Apes is merely an exercise in angry rhetoric for the sake of angry rhetoric. Da Lench Mob often mines the same black nationalist waters as Public Enemy and BDP, but without being as coherent or as lucid -- agree or disagree with them, Chuck D and KRS-1 have provided some of the most memorable political rhymes in the history of hip-hop (just as Haggard has provided some of the most memorable Republican propaganda in the history of country music). But despite its shortcomings, Planet of da Apes is an enjoyable, if limited, effort. The beats are often infectious, and, like Rage Against the Machine, Da Lench Mob can pull you in with its grooves and its passion even though its lyrics are too clichéd and rhetorical for their own good.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson