Chuck D And Cey Adams Go ‘Behind The Cover’ For ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’

‘Chuck D was always very hands on with his artwork,’ says Cey Adams.

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Public Enemy - Photo: Courtesy of UMe
Public Enemy - Photo: Courtesy of UMe

Chuck D of Public Enemy and Cey Adams, a visual artist, graphic designer, author, and founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, have teamed up for the latest installment of the animated Behind The Cover series.

This new episode dives into the artwork behind Public Enemy’s third studio album, the seminal 1990 release, Fear of a Black Planet. The deep-dive is part of UMe/Urban Legends’ Hip-Hop History month campaign.

Says Chuck, regarding the album, “When we began to start sketching out the ideas for Fear of a Black Planet, that whole process was thinking about a world that was waiting for us to repeat It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back. People expected that Fear of a Black Planet would follow that up. In baseball speak, if It Takes A Nation was a Nolan Ryan, a hundred-mile fastball, the whole key in Fear of a Black Planet was throwing a hanging curve, to catch everybody off tempo.

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Cey Adams also reminisced on the process of creating the cover, saying, “Chuck D was always very hands-on with his artwork. So he would come in most of the time off hours, because I think that’s when parking was a little bit easier to find on the street. He Knew exactly what he wanted and it was Steve and I’s job to figure out how to execute it. We wanted this sort of Star Wars type effect.” Suffice it to say, they nailed the aesthetic they were going for.

Last month, Public Enemy released the 30th Anniversary digital Deluxe Edition of their platinum-selling, landmark release, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black.

“We never begged for acceptance and thought that was the most rebellious s__t ever,” says Chuck D. “So we set out to never repeat ourselves on an album.

Once you thought you had us figured out, we flipped on you again. Apocalypse 91 came with a totally different sound than Fear Of A Black Planet which had a totally different style than It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back which was even more different than Yo! Bum Rush The Show. With Apocalypse 91,” Chuck D continues, “we wanted to grate on nerves and still be great in our approach. Never beg for acceptance. This is what it is, down your throat. Boom.”

Buy or stream Fear of a Black Planet

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