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“This is the first time that I became aware of hip-hop as a force. I first heard it in art class in school; we had a very liberal art teacher who would let people bring in music tapes and play them. Most people brought in things like Madonna and Prince or whatever, but one kid brought in Public Enemy.
“I had never heard anything like it. It seemed at the time so abrasive and different to me, like, ‘Who are these people?’ It felt so angry. I was a little bit scared, too – it felt like an insight into a darker world that I’d never experienced. I was really kind of unnerved by it, and I was shocked that the teacher allowed it to be played.
“It was also the first time that I realized how music could give voice to what was, to me, an alien world. What did I know about the black urban experience? I was living in Bristol in the suburbs, in the southwest of England; there was an inner city problem, but I wasn’t exposed to it. So it was very powerful to me to hear this music, and it took me a while to be brave enough to listen to it myself.
“I didn’t get fully into hip-hop until a bit later with the whole gangsta rap thing – I was big into Doggystyle and The Chronic – but for me, it was Public Enemy that put the genre on the map as a force. I’ve always been a fan of hip-hop, but I do feel slightly guilty about it, like I’m not allowed to like it the way that I do. It’s so clearly not my experience – what do I know about having a pack a Glock to go out? Nevertheless, it remains exciting music to me, particularly this album.”