It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Def Jam/RAL
Release date
2 May 1995
Running length
16 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Countdown to Armageddon 1:40 81,321
2 Bring the Noise 3:47 199,949
3 Don't Believe the Hype 5:20 138,955
4 Cold Lampin' With Flavor 4:18 49,643
5 Terminator X to the Edge of Panic 4:32 68,526
6 Mind Terrorist 1:21 68,878
7 Louder Than a Bomb 3:38 72,608
8 Caught, Can We Get a Witness? 4:54 55,056
9 Show 'Em Whatcha Got 1:57 45,808
10 She Watch Channel Zero?! 3:49 55,525
11 Night of the Living Baseheads 3:15 80,547
12 Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos 3:43 87,001
13 Security of the First World 1:20 57,808
14 Rebel Without a Pause 5:03 134,000
15 Prophets of Rage 3:19 66,417
16 Party for Your Right to Fight 3:26 54,644

About this album

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the second studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released in April 1988 by Def Jam Recordings. Public Enemy set out to make the hip hop equivalent to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, an album noted for its strong social commentary. Recording sessions took place during 1987 at Chung King Studios, Greene St. Recording, and Sabella Studios in New York City. Noting the enthusiastic response toward their live shows, Public Enemy intended with Nation of Millions to make the music of a faster tempo than the previous album for performance purposes.

The album charted for 49 weeks on the US Billboard 200, peaking at number 42. By August 1989, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the United States. The album was very well received by music critics, who hailed it for its production techniques and the socially and politically charged lyricism of lead MC Chuck D. It also appeared on many publications’ year-end top album lists for 1988, and was the runaway choice as the best album of 1988 in The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, a poll of the leading music critics in the US.

Since its initial reception, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back has been regarded by music writers and publications as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest ranking of all the hip hop albums on the list.

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  • VadiushaKomarov

    rating 10/10

    23 Jun 8:56am Reply
  • Robesko

    The greatest rap album of all times in my opinion

    21 May 8:17pm Reply
  • Doppz

    The hip hop version of MC5's Kick Out the Jams...Intense, energetic album. And, I have a vinyl copy with a holographic cover.

    4 May 1:07pm Reply
  • cabeza_cuadrada

    More punk than a lot of punk albums

    15 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Rezzo64

    @rhayader18 Fear of a Black Planet is definitely more dense, there's no denying that. But there's a creative charm about this one that has me hooked

    11 Oct 2014 Reply
  • Nakkinak

    the production aged astonishingly well

    9 May 2014 Reply
  • steverhiggs

    bought this on cassette and played the fuck out of it back in the day... a peerless classic, still sounds amazing today

    3 May 2014 Reply
  • rhayader18

    v I used to think that until I heard Fear of a Black Planet

    3 Apr 2014 Reply
  • Rezzo64

    Hip hop production is unlikely to ever reach the level of this album again

    1 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Harry_01

    This is really, really nice.

    13 Jan 2014 Reply
  • juaco2

    do not end your life without hearing this record

    30 Dec 2013 Reply
  • bannedinsp

    the best of the bests!

    2 Sep 2013 Reply
  • xMALIBUx

    I wore this tape the fuck out when I was 10 years old.

    22 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Punching_joe

    one of the greatest albums of all time. [8]

    20 Mar 2013 Reply
  • AndrewYNWA

    one of the greatest albums of all time. [7]

    5 Mar 2013 Reply
  • hugh20

    I used to prefer Fear of a Black Planet but this just clicked. Holy shit.

    4 Apr 2012 Reply
  • kubel104

    No more wack tracks. GREATEST RAP ALBUM EVER !!

    5 Jan 2012 Reply
  • ThisCharmingBoy

    I barely listen to hip hop, but damn this album is good and I do not regret picking it up on a whim.

    16 Nov 2011 Reply
  • RoeHappy

    Despite this album just being freakin' awesome, it also made me realize how many other hiphop artists used the same samples in their material way after this album was released. Sick. I love making connections like that.

    2 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Juzzy94

    The Best Hip Hop Album

    15 Aug 2011 Reply
  • All 84 shouts

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