The latest clip off the seminal hip-hop outfit’s 13th LP, Man Plans, God Laughs, opens with the camera traveling down a dimly lit hallway entering a pristine corporate boardroom. But as Chuck D unleashes the track’s opening lines — “News that’s fit for rhyme/BS fit to spit/The hate that hate produced/Swung up in a noose” — the video jumps to archival footage of a bomb being dropped.
The clip goes on to show the Public Enemy MC traipsing the halls and opening doors that unleash disorienting montages blending the beatific (quiet, unharmed suburban homes) with countless barbarisms: Burning cities, abused animals, explosions, mushroom clouds and lynchings from the past and present, as video of Eric Garner being choked to death and Sandra Bland’s mugshot suddenly strike the screen.
Man Plans, God Laughs follows Public Enemy’s 2012 album, The Evil Empire of Everything, and marks the first time since 1991’s Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black that the group worked with only one producer (Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo, who produced PE’s 2007 sleeper hit, “Harder Than You Think”).
“With the situation of unrest in society, and the police brutality issue and what happened in Baltimore, don’t expect no sympathy from the government on the people, especially in the United States,” Chuck D told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “I don’t put any of this on President Obama at all. He inherited a thief that was already in quicksand, and tried to do a good job about not having the thief go under the quicksand. It’s about to really get worse and capsize when he leaves. That’s when there’s really gonna be no sympathy from the devil.”