Greg Sandow
September 25, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Public Enemy: Greatest Misses

Current Status
In Season
Def Jam

We gave it a B-

Greatest hits, packaged under a jokey name? Nope. Instead, rap’s hardest punchers waste our time with six absurdly cautious remixes of tracks from their four albums, plus a seventh old song, muddily recorded live in Greatest Misses. Greatest Misses does offer six new songs, which, taken as a group, may be the most assured music the band has ever made. But even here there’s something weird. The new music — by people who normally shake complacent listening the way a roller coaster track would shake a 100-car freight train — sounds, of all things, almost relaxed. Front man Chuck D now delivers his incisive, militant polemics with the ease of someone enunciating familiar truths. He sounds almost calm, painting the court system as more evil than the black defendants it sentences to death — and hardly raises his voice even when he tells us that in a South African township, candidates as (he thinks) mendacious as Bush, Clinton, and Perot would be lynched. B-

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