– 29 years ago, It Takes a Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back, arguably the most powerful and influential rap album of all time was released by Public Enemy.

All of the independent artists out there know how hard it is to get people to follow along with your movement. What’s even harder is staying authentic in the face of criticism. But, Public Enemy was able to do all of the above with It Takes a Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back … and then some.

Public Enemy Releases
It Takes a Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back

By 1988, Public Enemy had gained a bit of notoriety, but hadn’t quite yet captivated the nation the way they would in years to come. Their debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, sold only 300,000 copies but was acclaimed amongst true hip hop aficionados. However, the release of It Takes a Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back immediately inflated Public Enemy’s stock. 

It Takes a Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back peaked at #1 on Billboard’s “Top Black Albums” chart and #42 on the “Top Pop Albums” chart where it remained for 49 weeks. Within the first month of the album’s release, Public Enemy had already sold 500,000 copies. It only took until August 1989 for the album to go platinum. As of 2010, It Takes a Nation has sold an additional 722,000 units.

There are an endless reasons why this album is so highly valued. These could include Chuck D’s powerful delivery and sociapolicital commentary as well as the project’s incredibly innovative production. It Takes a Nation is an extremely experimental project packed with an assortment of found sounds ranging from James Brown to sirens to live performances.

We could go on all day about the greatness of this album and the subsequent greatness that it influenced. To further put this album’s incredible quality into perspective I’ll simply mention that it received an absolutely perfect rating from AllMusic, The Guardian, Pitchfork, NME, The Rolling Stone Album Guide, Q, Spin Select Alternative Guide, Select, Christgau’s Record Guide, and Encyclopedia of Popular Music. In 2003, the album was also ranked at #48 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. This made it the highest ranked hip-hop album on the list and the only one to break the top 100.

The most insane part of all of this: All material was recorded in 30 days, the album was complete in 6 weeks, and the total budget was a mere $25,000. Drops Mic.

Written by DJ Robinson

The 40 Years of Hip Hop Mashup is what you need to hold you over until you make it back to the aux cord after work. Chicago based production group, The Hood Internet, known for their pretty interesting song mashups posted to YouTube and Soundcloud, have taken on the task of smashing 40 years of hip hop into 4 minutes. It sounds damn near impossible but they did it, with each artist finishing the bars of the last. That’s the real feat here but they made it seem so effortless without missing a beat, resulting in a very solid hip hop mini history lesson.

There’s really something for every hip hop head in this mix. I’ve really never been so satisfied with tiny snippets of music but I was able to reminisce on Pimp C, get a Pac fix, and Harlem Shake to “All About The Benjamins” all in four minutes. The Hood Internet wasn’t playing games about going back in time either; The 40 Years of Hip Hop Mashup has Afrika Bambataa and Grandmaster Flash somehow cohesively sharing a slot with Ying Yang Twins and House of Pain. It was nice to see that The 40 Years of Hip Hop Mashup made sure not to leave out the female hip hop presence with appearances from Lauryn Hill, Missy, and Salt N Pepa.

Head over to The Hood Internet SoundCloud page for more and check out the list of all of the featured artists below.

2 Pac, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Afrika Bambaataa, Audio Two, AZ, Beastie Boys, BG, Big Pun, Biz Markie, Black Rob, Black Sheep, Blackstreet, Bobby Shmurda, Boogie Down Productions, Busta Rhymes, Cali Swag District, Cam’ron, Chamillionaire, Chance The Rapper, Clipse, Common, Craig Mack, Cypress Hill, David Banner, De La Soul, Dead Prez, Digable Planets, Digital Underground, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, DJ Kool, DJ Quik & Kurupt, DMX, Doug E Fresh, Dr. Dre, Drake, Eazy-E, Eminem, Eric B. & Rakim, Funky 4+1, Gang Starr, Geto Boys, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, GZA, House of Pain, Ice Cube, J-Kwon, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Jay-Z, JJ Fad, Juvenile, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Lil Kim, Lil Troy, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Ludacris, Madvillain, MC Shan, Meek Mill, MF DOOM, Missy Elliott, Mobb Deep, Montell Jordan, MOP, Nas, Naughty By Nature, Nelly, Nicki Minaj, Notorious B.I.G, N.W.A, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Outkast, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Petey Pablo, Pharoahe Monch, Public Enemy, Puff Daddy, Quad City DJs, Rich Boy, Rick Ross, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Run-DMC, Salt N Pepa, Scarface, Schoolly D, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Skee-Lo, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, Soulja Boy, Sugarhill Gang, T La Rock, T-Wayne, T.I., Terror Squad, The Fat Boys, The Fatback Band, The Fugees, The Game, The Pack, The Pharcyde, The Roots, Three 6 Mafia, Tone Loc, Tyga, UGK, Usher, UTFO, Warren G, Whodini, Wreckx-N-Effect, Wu-Tang Clan, Ying Yang Twins, Young Gunz

Written by ViV