It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Studio album by Public Enemy
Released April 14, 1988
Recorded 1987
Chung King Studios
Greene Street Recording
(Manhattan, New York)
Sabella Studios
(Long Island, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 57:51
Label Def Jam/Columbia
Producer Chuck D, Rick Rubin (exec.), Hank Shocklee
Public Enemy chronology
Yo! Bum Rush the Show
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Fear of a Black Planet
Singles from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  1. "Rebel Without a Pause"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Bring the Noise"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Don't Believe the Hype"
    Released: May 1988
  4. "Night of the Living Baseheads"
    Released: 1988
  5. "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos"
    Released: 1989

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the second studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released April 14, 1988, on Def Jam Recordings. Recording sessions for the album took place at Chung King Studios, Greene Street Recording, and Sabella Studios in New York City. Noting the enthusiastic response over their live shows, the group intended with Nation of Millions to make the music of a faster tempo than the previous album for performance purposes.

The album peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart. By August 1989, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, after shipments of one million copies in the United States. The album was very well received by writers and music critics, and appeared on many publications' "best album" lists. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back has since been regarded by music writers and publications as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all-time.[1][2][3] The work has been hailed for its production techniques as well as the socially and politically charged lyricism of lead MC Chuck D. In 2003, the album was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest ranking of all the hip hop albums on the list.



Public Enemy's 1987 debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show, while acclaimed by hip hop critics and aficionados, had gone ignored for the most part by the rock and R&B mainstream,[4] selling only 300,000 copies, which was relatively low by the high-selling standards of other Def Jam recording artists such as LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys at the time.[5] However, the group continued to tour and record tirelessly. "On the day that Yo! Bum Rush the Show was released [in the spring of 1987], we was already in the trenches recording Nation of Millions," stated lead MC Chuck D.[6]

With It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the group set out to make what they considered to be the hip hop equivalent to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, an album noted for its strong social commentary.[7] As said by Chuck, "our mission was to kill the 'Cold Gettin' Dumb' stuff and really address some situations."[7] In order to ensure that their live shows would be as exciting as those when they played in London and Philadelphia, the group decided that the music on Nation of Millions would have to be faster than that found on Yo! Bum Rush the Show.[8]


It wasn't that we took records and rapped over them, we actually had an intricate way of developing sound, arranging the sound. We had musicians like Eric Sadler... Hank Shocklee, the Phil Spector of hip hop. You've got to give the credit as it's due, if Phil Spector has the Wall of Sound Hank Shocklee has the Wall of Noise.

Chuck D, The Quietus interview, May 2008[9]

Public Enemy initially recorded the album at Chung King Studios in Manhattan, but began to have conflicts with the engineers who were prejudiced against hip hop acts recording there.[10] The group then began recording at Greene Street Recording where they were much more comfortable.[7] Initially, the engineers at Greene Street were also apprehensive about the group, but eventually grew to respect their work ethic and seriousness about the recording process.[7] Recorded under the working title Countdown to Armageddon, the group ultimately deciding instead on It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, a line from their first album's song "Raise the Roof".[11] The material was recorded in 30 days for an estimated $25,000 in recording costs,[12] due to an extensive amount of preproduction by the group at their Long Island studio.[12] The album was completed in six weeks.[13]

Rather than touring with the rest of the group Eric "Vietnam" Sadler and Hank Shocklee would stay in the studio and work on material for the Nation of Millions album, so that Chuck D and Flavor Flav would have the music already done when they returned.[6] When the group began planning the second album, the songs "Bring the Noise", "Don't Believe the Hype", and "Rebel Without a Pause" had already been completed.[8] The latter track was recorded during the group's 1987 Def Jam tour, and its lyrics were written by Chuck D in one day spent secluded at his home.[14] Instead of looping the break from James Brown's "Funky Drummer", a commonly used breakbeat in hip hop, "Rebel Without a Pause" had Flavor Flav play the beat on the drum machine continuously for the track's duration of five minutes and two seconds.[14] Chuck D later said of his contribution to the track, "Flavor's timing helped create almost like a band rhythm".[14] Terminator X, the group's DJ/turntabilist, also incorporated a significant element to the track, the renowned transformer scratch, towards the its end. Named for its similarity to the sound made by the Autobots in The Transformers, the scratch was developed by DJ Spinbad and popularised by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Cash Money, and Terminator X had honed his take on the scratch on tour.[14] The group was satisfied with its sound after having removed the bass from his section of the track.[14]

According to Chuck D, Hank Shocklee made the last call when songs were completed. "Hank would come up with the final mix because he was the sound master... Hank is the Phil Spector of hip-hop. He was way ahead of his time, because he dared to challenge the odds in sound."[11] This was also one of the details which Chuck felt to be unique to the time and recording of the album. "Once hip-hop became corporate, they took the daredevil out of the artistry. But being a daredevil was what Hank brought to the table."[11] It was decided amongst the group that the album should be exactly one hour long, thirty minutes on each side. At the time, cassette tapes were more popular than CD's and the group didn't want listeners having to hear dead air for a long time after one half of the album was finished.[15] The two sides of the album were originally the other way around, the album beginning with "Show Em Whatcha Got" which leads into "She Watch Channel Zero?!" This instead became the start of side two, or the "Black Side." Hank Shocklee decided to flip the sides just before the mastering of the album and start the record with Dave Pearce introducing the group during their first tour of England.[11][15]


Musical style

Under Hank Shocklee's direction, the Bomb Squad, the group's production team, began to develop a dense and chaotic production style that relied on found sounds and avant-garde noise as much as it did on old-school funk.[4] Along with a varied selection of sampled elements, the tracks feature a greater tempo than those of the group's contemporaries.[16] Music critic Robert Christgau noted these elements and wrote that the Bomb Squad "juice post-Coleman/Coltrane ear-wrench with the kind of furious momentum harmolodic funk has never dared: the shit never stops abrading and exploding".[17] As with the group's live performances, Flavor Flav supported Chuck D's politically charged lyrics with "hype man" vocals and surrealistic lyrics on the album.[18][19]

On the album's content, music journalist Peter Shapiro wrote "Droning feedback, occasional shards of rock guitar, and James Brown horn samples distorted into discordant shrieks back the political rhetoric of lead rapper Chuck D and the surreality of Flavor Flav".[18] Ethnomathematics author Ron Eglash interpreted the album's style and production to be "massively interconnected political and sonic content", writing that "[the Bomb Squad] navigated the ambiguity between the philosophies of sound and voice. Public Enemy's sound demonstrated an integration of lyrical content, vocal tone, sample density and layering, scratch deconstruction, and sheer velocity that rap music has never been able to recapture, and that hip-hop DJs and producers are still mining for gems".[16]


In an interview with the New York Daily News, Shocklee noted that the album's dynamic sound was inspired by Chuck D's rapping prowess, stating "Chuck's a powerful rapper. We wanted to make something that could ­sonically stand up to him".[13] Of his own contributions to its production, Shocklee cited himself as being the arranger and noted that he had "no interest in linear songs".[12] When using records for sampling, Shocklee stated that he'd sometimes put them on the ground and stomp on them if they sounded too "clean."[12] Hank referred to Chuck D as being the person who'd find all the vocal samples, Eric Sadler as "the one with the musical talent," and noted that his brother, Keith Shocklee, "knew a lot of the breakbeats and was the sound-effects master."[12] Shocklee's sentiments were reinforced by Chuck D while explaining the group's working methods during production. "Eric was the musician, Hank was the antimusician. Eric did a lot of the [drum] programming, [Hank's brother] Keith was the guy who would bring in the feel."[6] For his contributions to the production side, Chuck stated that he "would scour for vocal samples all over the Earth. I would name a song, tag it, and get the vocal samples."[6] Chuck D also noted the productiveness of Sadler and Shocklee's differing approaches to the creative process. "The friction between Hank and Eric worked very well. Hank would put a twist on Eric's musicianship and Eric's musicianship would put a twist on Hank."[11]

Some production mistakes were kept for the album. The breakdown in "Bring the Noise" in which the kick-drum sample from James Brown's "Funky Drummer" plays solo was a mistake.[12] Apparently, the wrong sequence came up in the SP1200 sampler and Shocklee decided not only to keep it but to have Chuck rewrite his rhyme to fit the pattern.[12] The album itself was mixed with no automation, instead being recorded on analog tape and later painstakingly mixed by hand.[12] This is a significant fact due to its nature as being one of the more intricate albums of digitally sampled music.[12] Asked years later if replicating the number of samples used on the album would be possible [due to increased clearance costs for copyrighted material], Hank Shocklee said while possible, it would be far more expensive than at the time to do so.[20]


With his powerful baritone voice, Chuck D delivers narratives that are characterized by black nationalist rhetoric and regard topics such as self-empowerment for African Americans, critiques of White supremacy, and challenges to exploitation in the music industry.[21] "Caught, Can We Get a Witness?" directly addresses the issue of sampling in hip hop and copyright violation from a perspective that supports the practice and claims entitlement due to "black ownership of the sounds in the first place".[21] "Rebel Without a Pause" exemplefies the faster tempo that Public Enemy intended for the album,[14] while incorporating a heavy beat and samples of screeching horns,[22] the latter taken from The J.B.'s' "The Grunt" (1972).[21] According to Ron Eglash, such effects of sampling exemplify the "sense of urgency" given to the messages of the album's tracks, "to heighten the tension of the mix", while Chuck D's message is "one of total resistance that was readily accessible through [...] the confrontational sounds of bass, groove, and noise."[21] Lyrically, it eschews the traditional verse/chorus—verse/chorus song structure, with 12 bars of Chuck D's aggressive rapping, punctuated by Flavor Flav's stream of consciousness ad-libs.[14] Public Enemy-biographer Russell Myrie writes of the track's significance, "It matched 'I Know You Got Soul' in terms of its innovation and its breathtaking quality. It increased the tempo for Public Enemy, something they would do repeatedly during their forthcoming masterpiece [...] The faster tempo was important as it would heighten energy levels at their shows. Most important of all, it sounded fresh. It was some next level hip-hop. Chuck and Hank rightly felt it could stand alongside the best rap records of the time."[14]

Some of the song titles make reference to other works from popular culture. The song title "Rebel Without a Pause" is a play on Rebel Without a Cause, a film from 1955 starring actor James Dean.[23] The title of the track "Louder Than a Bomb" was influenced by the title of The Smiths' album Louder Than Bombs.[24] The title of the song "Party for Your Right to Fight" is a rerrangement of the Beastie Boys' 1987 hit single "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)."[25] The vocal sample of hip hop DJ Mr. Magic stating that his show would play "no more music by the suckers" was used on the song "Cold Lampin' with Flavor" after having been recorded from Magic's radio show by Flavor Flav.[26] Magic had dissed the group with the line when he mistakenly embroiled them in the WBAU-WBLS radio war.[26]


Commercial performance

In its first month of release, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back sold 500,000 copies without significant promotional efforts by its distributing label Columbia Records.[27] It peaked at number 42 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and at number one on the Top Black Albums chart.[28] On August 22, 1989, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of at least one million copies in the United States.[29] Since 1991, when the tracking system Nielsen SoundScan began tracking domestic sales data, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back has sold 722,000 additional copies as of 2010.[30]

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[31]
BBC Online (favorable)[32]
Robert Christgau (A+)[17]
Melody Maker (favorable)[33]
The New York Times (favorable)[34]
NME (10/10)[35]
Rolling Stone (favorable) 1988[36]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars 2004[37]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[38]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[39]

Despite a divided reaction towards its controversial lyrical content, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back received positive reviews from music critics upon its release.[40] Rolling Stone writer David Fricke described the album as a "Molotov cocktail of nuclear scratching, gnarly minimalist electronics and revolution rhyme" and complimented its "abrupt sequencing and violent sonic compression of rapid-fire samples, slamming-jail-door percussion, DJ Terminator X's tornado turntable work and Chuck D's outraged oratory".[36] In a 1988 article, Los Angeles Times writer Robert Hilburn wrote that the album incorporates some of the dynamics of early rap records such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message" (1982) and Run–D.M.C.'s "Sucker MC's" (1984) with the "radical, socially conscious tradition of groups like the Last Poets".[5] Hilburn commended Chuck D for his rapping on It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, writing that he "isn't afraid of being labeled an extremist, and it's that fearless bite--or game plan--that helps infuse his black-consciousness raps with the anger and assault of punk pioneers like the Sex Pistols and Clash".[41] Los Angeles Daily News gave it a B rating and compared its musical "rage" to that of rapper Schooly D's Smoke Some Kill (1988).[42] Jon Pareles of The New York Times praised the album for its production and compared its symbolic value to hip hop music at the time, stating:

Where most rappers present themselves as funky individualists, beating the odds of the status quo, Public Enemy suggests that rap listeners can become an active community, not just an audience. Although it overreaches, It Takes a Nation jams urban tension and black anger into the foreground; it reveals the potential for demagoguery as well as the need for change. 'Whatcha gonna do/ rappers not afraid of you', Public Enemy demands, and in 1988 it sounds like something more than idle entertainment.[34]
—Jon Pareles

Despite writing that it "sounds powerful, fresh and galvanizing", Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post found its lyrical content inconsistent, stating "Aurally, 'Nation of Millions' is intoxicating; Hank Shocklee and Carl Ryder's bold production will likely prove among the most distinctive of the year, not just in rap but in any pop genre. For their work to pack the political wallop they crave, however, the members of Public Enemy need to think for themselves, not just attach themselves to the thought of whichever black nationalist is currently drawing big crowds".[43] It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was included on several critics' end-of-the-year album lists.[40] It was ranked number one on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critic' poll of 1988,[44] as well as number three on Voice critic Robert Christgau's list.[45] In an article for the publication, Christgau described It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back as "the bravest and most righteous experimental pop of the decade--no matter how the music looks written down (ha ha), Hank Shocklee and Terminator X have translated Blood Ulmer's harmolodic visions into a street fact that's no less edutaining (if different) in the dwellings of monkey spawn and brothers alike (and different)".[46] Christgau later gave the album an A+ rating in his consumer guide grading,[17] indicating "a record of sustained beauty, power, insight, groove, and/or googlefritz that has invited and repaid repeated listenings in the daily life of someone with 500 other CDs to get to".[47]

Legacy and influence

Widely regarded as the group's best work, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back has been recognized by various publications and writers as one of the greatest and most influential recordings of all time.[1][2][3] In its 1995 issue upon the album's remastered reissue, Q gave it five out of five stars and hailed it as "the greatest rap album of all time, a landmark and classic".[33] Also upon its reissue, Melody Maker called the album "bloody essential" and commented that "I hadn't believed it could get harder [than YO! BUM RUSH THE SHOW]. Or better".[33] NME dubbed it "the greatest hip-hop album ever" at the time, stating "this wasn't merely a sonic triumph. This was also where Chuck wrote a fistful of lyrics that promoted him to the position of foremost commentator/documentor of life in the underbelly of the USA".[33] Mojo stated upon the album's 2000 European reissue, "Responsible for the angriest polemic since The Last Poets....[They] revolutionized the music, using up to 80 backing tracks in the sonic these ears PE sound like the greatest rock'n'roll band in history".[33] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the album number 48 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, making it the highest-ranked of the 27 hip hop albums included on the list.[48] Time magazine hailed it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time in 2006.[49] Kurt Cobain, the lead guitarist and singer of rock band Nirvana, listed the album as one of his top 50 favorite albums in his Journals.[50] In 2006, Q placed the album at number seven in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[51] As of June 2010, It Takes a Nation of Millions is ranked as the top album of 1988 and the seventeenth greatest album of all time at[52][53]

In his 2004 book Appropriating Technology: Vernacular Science and Social Power, Ron Eglash commented that a sonically and politically charged album such as Nation "can be considered a monument to the synthesis of sound and politics".[16] In 2005, New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music hosted a two-day retrospective called "The Making of It Takes a Nation of Millions."[12] It featured a producers' panel that reunited Hank Shocklee, captain of the Bomb Squad, with the Chairmen of the Boards from Greene Street Studios.[12] When asked in 2008 if the album would still be considered as radical if it were released two decades later, Chuck D said he felt it would "simply because it's faster than anything on the radio right now. And yeah, it's radical politically... because it's not really being said a lot. You want it to not be radical, but it is because it's totally different from Soulja Boy."[9] Public Enemy were asked to perform the album in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.[9] The group did perform, however lead rapper Chuck D expressed some reservations about the format of the series, saying, "I can't tell you that I'm thrilled about it, but we'll pull it off."[9] Music from the album has been sampled by various artists over the years, including (though not limited to) the Beastie Boys ("Egg Man"),[54] Game ("Remedy"),[55] Jay-Z ("Show Me What You Got"),[56] Jurassic 5 ("What's Golden"),[57] Madonna ("Justify My Love"),[58] and My Bloody Valentine ("Instrumental B").[59] The album is broken down track-by-track by Chuck D in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique.[60]

Track listing

All songs produced by The Bomb Squad.

# Title Song writers Sample(s)[61] Time
1 "Countdown to Armageddon" —— —— 1:42
2 "Bring the Noise" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler 3:45
3 "Don't Believe the Hype" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler
  • "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss
  • "Do the Funky Penguin" by Rufus Thomas
  • "I Got Ants in My Pants" by James Brown
  • "Escape-ism" by James Brown
4 "Cold Lampin' with Flavor" Drayton, Shocklee, Sadler 4:17
5 "Terminator X to the Edge of Panic" Rogers, Ridenhour, Drayton 4:31
6 "Mind Terrorist" —— —— 1:21
7 "Louder Than a Bomb" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler 3:38
8 "Caught, Can We Get a Witness?" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler
  • "Blow Your Head" by Fred Wesley and The J.B.'s
  • "Son of Shaft" by The Bar-Kays
  • "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes
  • "Terminator X Speaks with His Hands" by Public Enemy
  • "Soul Power" (from the album Revolution of the Mind, 1971) by James Brown
  • "Hot Pants - I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming" by Bobby Byrd
9 "Show 'Em Whatcha Got" —— 1:56
10 "She Watch Channel Zero?!" Ridenhour, Griffin, Shocklee, Sadler, Drayton 3:49
11 "Night of the Living Baseheads" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler
  • Speech by Louis Farrakhan/Khalid Abdul Muhammad
  • "UFO" by ESG
  • "Fame" by David Bowie
  • "The Grunt" by The J.B.'s
  • "Do It, Do It" by Disco Four
  • "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey and The Detroit Guitar Band
  • "Son of Shaft" by Bar-Kays
  • "Funky Man" by Kool & The Gang
  • "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy
  • "Christmas Rappin'" by Kurtis Blow
  • "Do the Funky Penguin" by Rufus Thomas
  • "Rock Steady" by Aretha Franklin
  • "I Can't Get Next to You" by The Temptations
  • "Pick Up the Pieces" by Average White Band
  • "You Can Make It If You Try" by Sly & the Family Stone
  • "Change Le Beat" by Fab Five Freddy
  • "I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To" by Soul Children
  • "Here We Go" (Live at the Funhouse) by Run-DMC
  • "Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1)" by Run-DMC
  • "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" by James Brown
  • "Soul Power Pt. I" by James Brown
  • "Rappin' Ain't No Thang" by The Boogie Boys featuring Kool Ski, Kid Delight and Disco Dave
  • "My Mike Sounds Nice" by Salt-N-Pepa
  • "Funkbox Party" by The Masterdon Committee
12 "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler, Drayton
  • "Little Green Apples" by The Escorts
  • "Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder
  • "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" by Isaac Hayes
  • "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy
13 "Security of the First World" —— —— 1:20
14 "Rebel Without a Pause" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler, Rogers
  • "The Grunt" by The J.B.'s
  • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
  • "Get Up Offa That Thing" by James Brown
  • "I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To" by The Soul Children
  • "Rock and Roll Dude" by Chubb Rock
  • "Pee-wee's Dance" by Joeski Love
15 "Prophets of Rage" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler 3:18
16 "Party for Your Right to Fight" Ridenhour, Shocklee, Sadler
  • "Do That Stuff" by Parliament
  • "I Know You Got Soul" by Bobby Byrd
  • "Butt-to-Butt Resuscitation" by Funkadelic
  • "Get Up, Stand Up" by Bob Marley & the Wailers
  • "Sing a Simple Song" by Sly & The Family Stone
  • "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" by James Brown
  • "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" by Beastie Boys


Credits for It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back adapted from Allmusic.[62]

  • Assistant production – Eric "Vietnam" Sadler
  • Engineering – Greg Gordon, John Harrison, Jeff Jones, Jim Sabella, Nick Sansano, Christopher Shaw, Matt Tritto, Chuck Valle
  • Executive production – Rick Rubin
  • Mixing – Keith Boxley, DJ Chuck Chillout, Steven Ett, Rod Hui
  • Photography – Glen E. Friedman
  • Production – Carl Ryder, Hank Shocklee
  • Production supervisor – Bill Stephney
  • Programming – Eric "Vietnam" Sadler, Hank Shocklee
  • Scratching – Norman Rogers, Johnny Juice Rosado
  • Turntables – Johnny Juice Rosado, Terminator X
  • Vocals – Harry Allen, Chuck D, Fab 5 Freddy, Flavor Flav, Erica Johnson, Oris Josphe, Professor Griff



Chart (1988)[28] Peak
Netherlands (MegaCharts)[63] 40
UK Albums Chart[64] 8
US Billboard Top LPs 42
US Billboard Top Black Albums 1


Region Certification
United Kingdom (BPI)[65] Silver
United States (RIAA)[66] Platinum


Year Single Peak chart positions[67]
U.S. Dance Music/Club Play Singles U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks U.S. Hot Rap Singles
1988 "Don't Believe the Hype" 21 17 18
"Night of the Living Baseheads" 62
"Bring the Noise" 56
1989 "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" 86 11
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.


The information regarding accolades attributed to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is taken from[68]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank USA 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums[69] 2008 2
10 Essential Hip-Hop Albums[70] 2008 2
Adresseavisen Norway The 100 (+23) Best Albums of All Time 1995 41
Aftenposten Top 50 Albums of All Time 1999 4
Alternative Press USA Top 99 Albums of '85 to '95 1995 6 The 10 Best Albums by Decade 1999 1
The Anarchist UK The 33 Best Albums Ever 1997 4
BigO Singapore The 100 Best Albums from 1975 to 1995 1995 29
Blender USA The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time 2002 11
500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die 2003 *
Blow Up Italy 600 Essential Albums 2005
Channel 4 UK 125 Nominations for the 100 Greatest Albums
Robert Christgau USA Personal 10 Best Albums from the '80s 1990 8
The Courier-Mail Australia 50 Defining Rock Albums 2005 42
Dagbladet Norway The Best Albums of the Century 1999 *
Dance de Lux Spain The 25 Best Hip-Hop Records 2001 1
Robert Dimery (General Editor) 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2005 *
Discoplay Spain The 50 Best Albums of All Time 1997
Eggen & Kartvedt Norway The Guide to the 100 Important Rock Albums 1999
Ego Trip USA Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980-98 1
Entertainment Weekly The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time 1993 33
Expressen Sweden The 100 Best Records Ever 1999 66
The Face UK Albums of the Year 1988 9
Fast 'n' Bulbous USA The 500 Best Albums Since 1965 80
Gear The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century 1999 14
The Guardian UK The 100 Best Albums Ever 1997 20
Joe S. Harrington, Blastitude USA The All-Time Top 100 Albums 2001 27
Helsingin Sanomat Finland 50th Anniversary of Rock 2004 *
IE USA 50 Great Albums, a Rock Time Capsule 1999
Juice TV Australia The 50 Best Albums of All Time 1997 19
KCPR DJs USA Top 100 Records from the 80s 2002 43
Kitsap Sun Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years 2005 53
David Kleijwegt Netherlands Top 100 Albums of All Time 1999 47
Les Inrockuptibles France The 100 Best Albums 1986-1996 1996 44
50 Years of Rock'n'Roll 2004 *
List by Asian Critics 100 Essential Albums
Melody Maker UK Albums of the Year 1988 28
All Time Top 100 Albums 2000 17
Mojo The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made 1995 76
Tom Moon USA 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die[71] 2008 *
Paul Morley UK Words and Music, 5 x 100 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 *
Musik Express/Sounds Germany The 100 Masterpieces 1993 92
The 50 Best Albums from the 80s 2003 3
Muzik UK The 50 Most Influential Records of All Time *
Top 50 Dance Albums of All Time 2002 19
New Musical Express 40 Records That Captured the Moment 1952-91 1992 *
Albums of the Year 1988 1
All Times Top 100 Albums + Top 50 by Decade 1993 9
Top 100 Albums of All Time 2003 29
New Nation Top 100 Albums by Black Artists 3
Nieuwe Revu Netherlands Top 100 Albums of All Time 1994 34
NPR USA The 300 Most Important American Records of the 20th Century 1999 *
OOR Netherlands Albums of the Year 1988 4
The Best Albums of 1971-1991 1991 1
The Best Albums of the 80s 1989
Panorama Norway The 30 Best Albums of the Year 1970-98 1999 12
Pause & Play USA 10 Albums of the 80's 2003 *
Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week
Pitchfork Media Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1980s 2002 9
Platekompaniet Norway Top 100 Albums of All Time 2001 54
Pop Sweden The World's 100 Best Albums + 300 Complements 1994 15
Pure Pop Mexico The 10 (+50) Most Important Albums of All Time 2004 1
The Best Albums of All Time 1993 21
Q UK The 80 Best Records of the 80s 2006 7
Albums of the Year 1988 *
In Our Lifetime: Q's 100 Best Albums 1986-94 1995
Top 20 Albums from 1980 to 2004 2004 9
Top 20 Albums from the Lifetime of Q (1986–2006) *
The Ultimate Music Collection 2005
Radio WXPN USA The 100 Most Progressive Albums 1996 28
Record Collector UK 10 Classic Albums from 21 Genres for the 21st Century 2000 *
Record Mirror Albums of the Year 1988 1
The Review USA 100 Greatest Albums of All Time 2001 13
Rock de Lux Spain The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s 1990 4
The 200 Best Albums of All Time 2002 5
Albums of the Year 1988 1
Rolling Stone Germany The 500 Best Albums of All Time 2004 345
Mexico The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time 11
USA The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 48
Albums of the Year 1988 3
The Essential 200 Rock Records 1997 *
Slant Magazine Top 25 Electronic Albums 2005 26
Soundi Finland The 50 Best Albums of All Time + Top 10 by Decade 1995 8
Sounds UK Albums of the Year 1988 20
The Source USA The 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time 1998 *
Spex Germany The 100 Albums of the Century 1999 2
Albums of the Year 1988 3
Spin USA 100 Alternative Albums 1995 2
Top 100 (+5) Albums of the Last 20 Years 2005
The Sun Canada The Best Albums from 1971 to 2000 2001 *
Switch Mexico The 100 Best Albums of the 20th Century 1999
Tempo Germany The 100 Best Albums from the 80's 1989 4
Terrorizer UK The 100 Most Important Albums of the 80s 2000 *
Time USA Top 100 Albums of All Time 2006
Treble The Best Albums of the 80s, by Year 3
Uncut UK 100 Rock and Movie Icons 2005 55
Various writers Albums: 50 Years of Great Recordings *
VH1 USA The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R 2001 20
Vibe 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century 1999 *
51 Albums representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement 2004
The Village Voice Albums of the Year 1988 1
Rickey Vincent Five Star Albums from "FUNK: The MUSIC, the PEOPLE, and the RHYTHM *
VPRO Netherlands 299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time 2006
Wiener Austria The 100 Best Albums of the 20th Century 1999 19
Yedioth Ahronoth Israel Top 99 Albums of All Time 91

See also

  • List of number-one R&B albums of 1988 (U.S.)


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  • Ron Eglash (2004). Appropriating Technology: Vernacular Science and Social Power. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816634279. 
  • Brian Coleman (2007). Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. Villard Books. ISBN 978-0-8129-7775-2. 
  • Russell Myrie (2008). Don't Rhyme For the Sake of Riddlin': The Authorized Story of Public Enemy. Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84767-182-0. 
  • Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-74320-169-8. 
  • Peter Shapiro (2005). Rough Guide to Hip Hop. Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1843532637. 

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