Public Enemy Will Receive A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
For more than 30 years, Public Enemy has been serving hard truth to the people with inspiring, powerful, and evocative music. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, Professor Griff, and DJ Lord are Hip-Hop legends. While the group’s music has never won a Grammy (prompting some lyrics on “Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic”) at the time of its release, the Recording Academy continues to recognize the impact of P.E. in retrospect.
Following “Fight The Power” being added to the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2018, Public Enemy is being celebrated in 2020 with a special Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. Joining them in this class will be Roberta Flack, Issac Hayes, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Iggy Pop, Chicago, and John Prine. The Recording Academy announced the news last week (December 19), as part of its 2020 Special Merit Awards. “Our industry is one that prides itself on influence and paying it forward, and each year the Recording Academy has the privilege of honoring a select group of visionaries whose creative contributions have rippled throughout our culture,” said Deborah Dugan, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “Our Special Merit Awards recipients have molded their musical passion into pieces of history that will continue to influence and inspire generations of music creators and music lovers to come.”
Public Enemy’s first four albums are widely considered classics, as they were all certified either gold or platinum and were, according to music critic Robert Hilburn in 1998, “the most acclaimed body of work ever by a Hip-Hop act.” The group’s debut, Yo! Bum Rush The Show, was released in 1987 and marked their first step toward stardom. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back released in 1988, including the hit single, “Don’t Believe the Hype.” It became the first Hip-Hop album to be voted “Album of the Year” in The Village Voice‘s influential “Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll.” In 1989, P.E. recorded Fear Of A Black Planet and was the most commercially successful of any of the group’s albums. Sixteen years later, in 2005, the LP was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress, which included the singles “Welcome To The Terrordome,” “911 Is A Joke,” and “Fight The Power.”
The latter is regarded as one of the most popular and influential songs in Hip-Hop history and served as the theme song of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Public Enemy is just the second Rap group to be honored by The Recording Academy. Run-D.M.C. were among the first honorees back in 2016.
According to the announcement, the Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. The Recording Academy will present recipients with these awards in a celebration held on April 18, 2020, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Last month, Chuck D and his band-mates announced that Prophets Of Rage are pausing, following the reunion of Zack De La Rocha and Rage Against The Machine. Cypress Hill member B-Real and fellow P.E. band-mate DJ Lord also stepped aside from the group.
It was about doing something greater than self. 2020 keeping ZDLR spot warm for @RATM & powering a 👊🏿statement for 1000 days was a honorable truth mission in the hours of chaos from the jump… And so the bands rock on…. Let’s go @cypresshill @PublicEnemyFTP @prophetsofrage pic.twitter.com/sFqvwTxfhv
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) November 2, 2019