Fight the Power was originally was on the soundtrack for Spike Lee’s “Do the Right thing”., but the song definitely stood its own ground as it stays one of hip-hop most recognizable and quoted lines. This song and its lyrics were huge for the civil rights movement, the lyrics are quoted by artists and social activists everywhere. It is in the hip-hop/rap genre, rap genre is used as a response form of music, for example rap battles. The lyrics go into depth attacking racism and classism straight on its head. Starting with the title of the song “Fight the Power” is kind of the clean way of saying F*** the police and bring against those in power not those with authority. The people in higher positions that take advantage of people’s skin color and their class so they can get away with more. One of the most shocking lyrics, till this day, is when Public Enemy said:
“Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant sh*t to me you see Straight up racist that sucker was Simple and plain Mother f*** him and John Wayne”
Many Black people felt that Elvis stole elements from black music and culture. His music and his lyrics suggest so. Later in the song PE says:
“What we got to say Power to the people no delay Make everybody see In order to fight the powers that be “
The “Power to the people” line is in reference to the slogan used by the black panthers in protests, working to help the powerless and cross racial lines. These were protests to the people of corporate America and the racists who exploit all their power. One musical characteristic that this piece can’t be without is rhythm. One of the most recognizable samples in the piece is the Funky Drummer break that comes in about 20 seconds in. James Brown’s Funky drummer was a commonly sample song at the time but more effectively used because James Brown was a large civil activist at the time, Public Enemy actually samples The Funky Drummer another 7 times.
I also chose a song that is in the rap genre. Rap songs have been used many times to spread a message which makes them influential. I found the significance of the rhythm used in this song very intresting.