Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Recordings by Public Enemy (PE) from the late 1980s and early 1990s have dominated academic writing on hip hop beat making. Scholarly attention has been drawn to their sample-filled sonic signature, created by the Bomb Squad production team, which was deemed to align with the group’s role as vanguards for the use of hip hop as a platform for social justice and black consciousness. When surveying the historical development of hip hop production practices, however, there is a paradoxical relationship in regard to how their work is positioned in the historiography of the genre. This chapter addresses the development of PE’s sound within the context of late 1980s hip hop, suggesting that PE’s sonic signature was an outlier rather than illustrative of the common practice of beat making. Drawing on new interviews with PE members and other key hip hop recordists of the era, an examination of the technology and process of the Bomb Squad, and musical analysis of two recordings—“Bring the Noise” and “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”—this chapter positions “organized noise” within the landscape of contemporaneous hip hop production styles and considers ways in which historical distance has compelled a reassessment of PE in academia.

Keywords: beat making, hip hop, production, technology, historiography, Public Enemy

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.