Public Enemy, 'State Of The Union (STFU)': Protest Music In 2020 : We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020 This song, part of our 'We Insist' timeline of 2020's noteworthy protest music, was released June 19.
NPR logo Public Enemy Excoriates President Trump On 'State Of The Union (STFU)'

Public Enemy Excoriates President Trump On 'State Of The Union (STFU)'

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Public Enemy set the standard for protest anthems in hip-hop, when the group's 1989 hit, "Fight the Power," exploded across the big screen as the theme of filmmaker Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. By that time, the world was discovering what rap fans already knew: Public Enemy was an agent for change, and on their previous albums — 1987's Yo! Bum Rush The Show and 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back — critiqued white supremacy with unmatched fearlessness. The same went for "Fight the Power." With its hulking beat (courtesy of in-house production team The Bomb Squad), matched only by Chuck D's larger-than-life vocal tone and Flavor Flav's instigating adlibs, "Fight the Power" took aim at so-called cultural pillars.

"State of the Union" is equally antagonistic. Over a DJ Premier beat, Chuck takes aim at the U.S. president, calling him an "ass debater" and "dictator defendant." Pretty much everything about Donald Trump is ridiculed here. "Orange hair, fear the combover," Chuck quips at one point. "Better rock that vote, or vote for hell, we the generals now, not some USFL." Though the track arrives 31 years after "Fight the Power," the group sounds just as spirited. They're still railing against racism and government leaders with the same blunt force.