Public Enemy

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Spike Lee & Harry Belafonte
  • Category:


Music with a message.

Whether we’re talking hip hop or politics, Public Enemy was revolutionary. Their blend of politics, philosophy and rap changed the game for the better. 

Hall of Fame Essay


Alan Light

RUN-DMC had a more revolutionary impact on the way records are made. N.W. A spawned more imitators. The Death Row and Bad Boy juggernauts sold more albums. Jay-Z has topped the charts for many more years. But no act in the history of hip-hop ever felt more important than Public Enemy.

At the top of its game, PE redefined not just what a rap group could accomplish, but also the very role pop musicians could play in contemporary culture. Lyrically, sonically, politically, onstage, on the news - never before had musicians been considered “radical” across so many different platforms.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2013
1 of 6
2013 Inductees Public Enemy
Radical, revolutionary, change agents.
Harry Belafonte