Album

Release Format Tracks Date Country Label Catalog# Barcode
Official
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Columbia (imprint owned by CBS between 1938–1990 within US/CA/MX; owned worldwide by Sony Music Entertainment since 1991 except in JP), Def Jam Recordings BFCK 44303 074644430325
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Cassette 16 Def Jam Recordings BFCT-44303 074644430349
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Cassette 16 Def Jam Recordings DEF 462415 4 5099746241544
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Vinyl 16 Def Jam Recordings DEF 462415 1 5099746241513
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings DEF 462415 2 5099746241520
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 12" Vinyl 16 Def Jam Recordings 527 358-1 040524430310
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Vinyl 16 Columbia (imprint owned by CBS between 1938–1990 within US/CA/MX; owned worldwide by Sony Music Entertainment since 1991 except in JP), Def Jam Recordings C 44303, FC 44303 074644430318
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Columbia (imprint owned by CBS between 1938–1990 within US/CA/MX; owned worldwide by Sony Music Entertainment since 1991 except in JP), Def Jam Recordings CK 44303 074644430325
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Cassette 16 Def Jam Recordings CT 44303, FCT 44303 074644430349
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings 462415 2 9399746241527
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings 314 527 358-2 731452735829
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings 314 527 358-2 731452735829
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Cassette 16 Def Jam Recordings 314 527 358-4 731452735843
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings 527 358-2 731452735829
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back CD 16 Def Jam Recordings 527 358-2 731452735829
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Enhanced CD 18 Def Jam Recordings 542 423-2 731454242325
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 12" Vinyl 16 Def Jam Recordings B0019394-01 602537575367
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (deluxe edition) 2×CD + DVD-Video 16 + 13 + 12 Def Jam Recordings B0020176-00 602537737086
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (deluxe edition) 2×Digital Media 16 + 13 Def Jam Recordings 602547045751
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (deluxe version) 2×CD + DVD-Video 16 + 13 + 12 Def Jam Recordings 3773708 602537737086
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (deluxe edition) 2×SHM-CD + DVD-Video 16 + 13 + 12 Def Jam Recordings UICY-15364 4988005867360
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Cassette 16 Def Jam Recordings, UMe (imprint of Universal Music Enterprises) B0025172-04 602547951526

Relationships

associated singles/EPs: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
Rebel Without a Pause (vocal mix)
included in: 2 Original CDs: Yo! Bum Rush the Show / It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
3 Original CDs: Yo! Bum Rush the Show / It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back / Fear of a Black Planet
part of: Q Magazine: 20 Loudest Albums of All Time (number: 3)
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 48)
Allmusic: http://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0000196315 [info]
Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/master/30296 [info]
Wikidata: Q926127 [info]
lyrics page: http://genius.com/albums/Public-enemy/It-takes-a-nation-of-millions-to-hold-us-back [info]
other databases: http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/public_enemy/it_takes_a_nation_of_millions_to_hold_us_back/ [info]
reviews: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/56gb [info]

CritiqueBrainz Reviews

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Most Recent

PE: The last great political act of our times? This album certainly seems to back the theory up. A year after the polemic of Chuck D, the sneer of Flavor Flav and the post-modern noise concrete of the Bomb Squad burst onto the public consciousness with Yo, Bum Rush The Show, Public Enemy really pulled out the stops with It Takes A Nation... Signed to Rick Rubin's Def Jam label on the basis of the vocalists' freestyling skills, what emerged, when backed by the sample-crazy methodology of Hank Shocklee et al was a furious squall of beats and righteous anger that still assaults the ears.

What makes ITANOMTHUB such a fresh sound to this day is the focus given to Chuck D's ire by the production. Whether he's addressing the issues of disenfranchisement in a racist society (Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos), political obfustication (Don't Believe The Hype), or just the soma-like effects of the modern media (She Watch Channel Zero?!) his lyrics are spat with a controlled rage that is mirrored by the Bomb Squad's beats. It could be argued that these beats are where the real political agenda is adressed. Most people remember PE as the band that liberated James Brown from parodic dotage; reminding the world of how explosive and subversive his (and his proteges such as the JBs and Bobby Byrd's) beats could be. But the samples and beats on offer here also came from labelmates, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC, as well as PE themselves and a fair smattering of free jazz and other early rap acts. The message was that black music could be reclaimed and re-tooled as a semantic crowbar - screaming to the world that rhythm was as eloquent as words when reminding us of the world's inequalities.

Of course, the Nation Of Islam spiel (mainly propagated by Professor Griff, who was soon to leave the band) gave detractors a toehold, by pointing at the band's potentially anti-semitic undertow. But a careful listen to Chuck D's flow shows the man to be asking for Farrakhan to be understood in context, not just espousing his more extreme views. A caucasian-controlled media were genuinely scared by this band.

In the end ITANOMTHUB is possibly the greatest rap album ever made. Balancing political incisiveness with rock dynamics, it crossed the race divide and almost instantly made all other rap acts sound tame. For a brief spell hip hop was about more than guns and bling.