Apart from their 2001 installment in Universal's ongoing 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series, Public Enemy had not been given a career compilation prior to 2005's Power to the People and the Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits. The 2001 comp overlooked such major cuts as "Rebel Without a Pause" and "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," plus it was sequenced in a non-chronological order. Power to the People rights those two wrongs by including all of PE's major songs from 1987-1998 -- which doesn't mean it's all their best music, of course -- presented in a chronological fashion, beginning with "You're Gonna Get Yours" and ending with "He Got Game." As such, it provides not only a useful summary of their groundbreaking work, it's also a bracing, exciting listen in its own right. Of course, each individual Public Enemy release recorded during these ten years is worth hearing -- especially 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and 1990's Fear of a Black Planet, which are two of the great works of art of the 20th century -- but for those who want a quick introduction to the greatest hip-hop group of all time, this fits the bill perfectly.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Stephen Stills