It’s June 19, and Chuck D is heading to a radio interview in Los Angeles. He has a lot to say, and he’s just getting started. Earlier in the day, Public Enemy dropped “State of the Union (STFU)” their first single in three years. Never ones to evade socio-political issues right out of the gate with controversial debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show and their still-potent 1989 anthem “Fight the Power”—which they’ll remix with Das, Rapsody and Black Thought more than a week later for a special BET Awards ceremony—the current, presidential administration has given Public Enemy plenty of new material. “State of the Union” is a penetrating track questioning the state of America’s leadership, the state of the country, and the state of the future for black Americans.
Returning with Flavor Flav and turntablist DJ Lord, no idiom, no beat is wasted in getting the point across, striking hard in punching lyrics Don’t say nothin’, don’t think nothin’ / Make America great again, the middle just love it / When he wanna talk, walk y’all straight to them ovens / Human beings of color, yeah we be sufferin’. Never mentioned by name, the president is only referenced as “45”—“Operation 45,” “Nazi cult 45 Gestapo.”