The titles of Public Enemy’s albums tell the story: “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” (1988), “Fear of a Black Planet” (1990), “Rebirth of a Nation” (2006), “How You Sell Soul to a Souless People Who Sold Their Soul?” (2007), “Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp” (2012).
A lot of hip hip has been about girls and guns and good times. But Public Enemy’s propulsive beats, sirens, and incendiary truth-to-power vocals have been devoted to calling out the forces in America that hold African Americans back, that hold all of us back.
Following the release of two new albums this year, “Most of My Heroes…” and “The Evil Empire of Everything,” plus their 2007 track “Harder Than You Think” (video below) becoming a UK hit this summer, they’re scheduled to perform as part of “The Hip Hop Gods Classic Tourfest Revue” at Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston, on Sunday, Dec. 2. The tour coincides with the 25th anniversary of the release of Public Enemy’s debut album, “Yo! Bum Rush the Show,” and the group being nominated in October for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s hard for a radical music act to age well. Public Enemy is fronted by Flava Flav, who did a tour of the reality TV circuit beginning with 2004’s “The Surreal Life” and came off as bonkers, and Chuck D, who remains as fierce as ever.
“Never,” Chuck D raps on their 2012 track “RLTK,” “have so many been screwed by so few.”