Public Enemy will release a new album, which will feature four of the group's past hits remixed by fans, in late February. This summer, through frontman Chuck D's own SlamJamz.com, P.E. offered fans a chance to download a capella versions of "Shut Em Down," "Public Enemy No. 1," "B Side Wins Again," and "By the Time I Get to Arizona," and write new music for the tracks. Those whose submissions were chosen will be given co-songwriting credit and royalties.
"It's been tremendous," says P.E. frontman Chuck D of the number of entries. "We had the a capellas downloaded 11,000 times and had 450 remixes done. Our virtual staff of thirty people have combed through the 450 mixes and picked the winners for each of the four songs. My point was definitely telling people that the world has more to offer. I think the industry pretty much suits itself and protects itself against the ongoing creativity of its public."
The winners are Owen Lake and Ross Farwell of Madison, Wisconsin, for "B Side Wins Again"; Jeronimo Punx of Buenos Aires, Argentina; for "Public Enemy No. 1"; Functionist of Austria for "Shut Em Down"; and Moleman Saphone from Long Island, New York, for "By the Time I Get to Arizona."
"The one that came from Madison, I couldn't even describe it," Chuck D says, "which was part of the attraction of that winning. If a song could have a D-side, that would be it. Functionist came up with a twisted, musical, but eerie groove. The Jeronimo Punx track is very well put together. I think they spent every second of their life on it."
Also slated for inclusion on the album is "Get Your Shit Together," a track written in response to government activity in the weeks following the terrorist attacks of September 11th. "It's a reminder to watch your P's and Q's and to not fall into the hype machine," says Chuck D.
He plans to release more a capella tracks for fans to remix in December.