Fight The Power Part 1

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We had just finished recording the Live It Up album. Our mother and wives, and my nieces and nephews, flew out to L. So, I was in a real good mood. I got in the shower, and for some reason, I started saying, or reciting, something like, "Time is truly wasting, there's no guarantee. Smile is in the making, fight the powers that be. I didn't tell the brothers about it right away — it was like two or three months.

And when I did, I said, "With all this nonsense going down. When it came time to sing it, I heard him say, "With all this BS going down. Ernie: No, no, no. It was just, like, a matter of fact. And I said, "You know, man, some people may not like it. If you can say what you feel, and it's not embraced, at least you said what you feel. That makes sense. Chuck: It was a serious time in the United States of America.

For black folks in , it was a serious, serious time of doubt. Because when white folks got it bad, there's a basement underneath that that got hell going on. Fourteen years later, Spike Lee had asked us to come up with something that signified this movie that he was making about unrest in Brooklyn, where he was from, and seeing that same hypocrisy.

And he said, "I need an anthem. So I said, "We don't want to sample from the record. What we want to do is carry the torch of the meaning — to yell and scream back at hypocrisy.

And we roll with the punches, and we get knocked on the ground. And so it was like, how do we carry the torch? Ernie: When you guys came out with your "Fight The Power," I was listening, and you said, "Fight the power, fight the power, fight the powers that be. Whatever it is, once it's manifested, then you know how to begin your fight.

You're gonna take all of it on courageously, and with a sense of optimism. Chuck: I mean, we made songs that were based on feeling. We didn't think it was one of our strongest songs at all. It ain't as rough as some songs that we've made, and crazy like some songs we made. But we were in pocket: This is the groove, this is the feeling. That was something that really, seriously drew the connection between what we felt in '75 and what we had And Spike knew that record, too, so he didn't reject that. Hip hop is almost like its own archive museum.

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Ernie: It was a tremendous hit in its own right. And it was important that you said what you said — [including] calling out Elvis and calling out John Wayne. It was like, " Did you hear what he said? Chuck: Now, you know, we give props. Elvis is in my household. But , there's other records in the crates. So that was a takedown saying, "The Isley Brothers are my heroes, not these people.

Our history is in our music. If you de-emphasize our music, the history is gone. You could teach black history by default, just by teaching the music. Chuck: And households were our best educational systems, because it taught us what the real deal was as we went to school.

Fight The Power (Full Version) - Public Enemy

I mean, you and your brothers was always like uncles and aunts in our crib, without ever seeing you. Somebody's gonna play the record, and it's like, "Yo, this part of family. This is not offensive, this is to learn you," as they used to say. It'll learn you something by listening to these records. Ernie: It's a wonderful way to be able to communicate with people.

Thank God that music is what it is.

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It's like an extension, you know? And it's like an embrace, that all of us can connect through generations, through lifetimes. They're gonna be listening to "Fight the Power" by y'all for as long as they got ears. It'll be rediscovered. It'll be rehashed. Ernie Isley wrote it and played guitar. His brother Ronald sang it.

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And it had a rebellious message that took everyone by surprise. There's no guarantee.

The Isley Brothers | Billboard

Smile is in the makin'. We got to fight the powers that be. He would later take the stage name Chuck D. Our freedom of speech is freedom of death.

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Let me hear you say, fight the power. Fight the power. Due to some adult language here, kids listening might want to rejoin us in about seven minutes or so. All right. We realized early that film was probably going to be our outlet to deliver shit. Marsalis: They had the greatest marketing tool in the world. They had a movie that people were going to see two and three times, that was going to be all over the world and it scared white people half to death — which ensured that it was going to sell.

Why Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' still resonates

I just wanted to make a great record and keep it moving. And next thing you know, this phenomenal record was being played on the radio over and over and over. This is crazy. The B side to the original 12 inch features a hilarious meeting between Spike and Flavor.

How did that come together? Who the fuck knows. Flavor Flav: It was just incredible, man, hearing my voice in a movie [ laughs ]. It gave me that kind of feeling. It was just an incredible feeling. Chuck D: It was cool, because I thought I could get away with not doing a video [ laughs ]. Marsalis: I dug the song.

I thought it was a hit from the get. But it was cool. It was great to see. Shocklee: The track intensified the story. You could have walked out the theater and into a pizza shop, and that would have happened at that moment.

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  • "FIGHT THE POWER, PART 1" LYRICS by THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Time is truly wastin',.
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What do you remember about making the video? Lee: All Chuck D and I wanted to do was reenact a march. So we had everybody show up. We marched from a specific space through the streets of Brooklyn and ended up on the block where we shot the film.