Congratulations are in order for legendary and unmatched hip-hop collective Public Enemy, whose iconic 1989 single “Fight the Power” will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame later this month.
“Fight the Power” is regarded as one of the most influential songs in the history of the hip-hop music genre due to its complex musical structure, revolutionary lyrics, and effective global reception. The song served as a leitmotif for Spike Lee‘s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, a flick centered around the reality of racial tension in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed-Stuy. Influenced by The Isley Brothers‘ “Fight the Power,” the collective’s lead vocalist, Chuck D, sought to use the same thesis as the classic song, recognizing the abuse of power plagued by the presence of white supremacy upon blacks in America.
The iconic song was released as a single on Motown Records in 1989, representing the complexity of a hip-hop measure with its strategic accent for sampling. The opening sample of civil rights activist Thomas “TNT” Todd, and unification of over 10 classic 70s soul songs ranging from James Brown‘s “Say It Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud,” to Bobby Byrd‘s “I Know You Got Soul,” and even down to the hip-hop tip with Kurtis Blow‘s “AJ Scratch,” “Fight the Power” was an unapologetic composition destined to not only mold the musical theme for the Spike Lee film but develop into an anthem for black nations all over the globe. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance at the 1990 Grammy Awards.
The music video served as a political protest rally in Brooklyn, New York striking the livelihood of the song’s unapologetic narrative.
Fellow inductees for the 2018 Grammy Hall of Fame include Whitney Houston‘s “I Will Always Love You,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me,” Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” The King Cole Trio’s “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” Billie Holiday’s “My Man,” Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five’s “Savoy Blues,” and many more.