Public Enemy – Can’t Truss It


Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released on October 1, 1991, by Def Jam Recordings and Columbia Records. The album received critical acclaim, ranking at No. 2 in The Village Voices 1991 Pazz & Jop critics’ poll.

Recording and production

Apocalypse 91 was recorded at The Mix Palace in Long IslandNew York and produced by The Bomb Squad and The Imperial Grand Ministers of Funk, which consisted of producers Stuart Robertz (fictional), Cerwin “C-Dawg” Depper (fictional), Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo, and The JBL. The album title is an allusion to the titles of the films Apocalypse Now and The Empire Strikes Back.

The group would take a new direction with their sound, partly out of necessity. According to Hank Shocklee, around this time, the disks for every track they had been working on for the past four to five years had been stolen. As a result, they had to rush to re-create their music and to put out their album in a timely manner. Shocklee admitted that it was impossible to completely recover what they had lost, saying “once you lose all your data, it’s very difficult to get that data back…you may get some of it back, but you’ll never get the complete set. You won’t even know what the complete set is, because there’s data in there you didn’t really know you had.” In retrospect, he believed the loss “stunted [Public Enemy’s] growth. We never really recovered after that. We was on a roll—I was on a roll, and to lose that material set me back so hard.” As a result, the sound was a little leaner than the dense production of their previous albums, and live musicians became a prominent element as well.

The group recorded “1 Million Bottlebags” to protest the pervasiveness of malt liquor in the African-American community. Public Enemy collaborated with the metal band Anthrax to record a thrash version of their earlier single “Bring the Noise“.


Public Enemy

Additional personnel

  • Anthrax – performer (track 14)
  • Harry Allen – spoken word
  • Frank Abel – keyboards
  • Fred Wells – guitar
  • Lorenzo “Tony” Wyche – horns
  • Allen Givens – horns
  • Ricky Gordon – percussion
  • Tyrone Jefferson – horns
  • Al MacDowell – bass guitar
  • Steve Moss – percussion
  • Michael Angelo – mixing