Rebel Without A Pause

Album: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1987)
Charted: 37
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Songfacts®:

  • The title is a play on Rebel Without A Cause, a film starring James Dean released in 1955.
  • Like Jimi Hendrix and many other creative types, Public Enemy didn't mind some imperfections in their work. Chuck D explained to Keyboard magazine in 1990: "In 'Rebel Without a Pause,' we programmed that weird screechy sound. It was sampled to have a clean sound, and it just didn't feel right, so we cut the amount of time in that siren sample, redid it with, like, a two-bit sampling rate, which made it really gritty-sounding, almost unpresentable, and then we looped that at a point where it was kind of imperfect. That's what made the record have more soul, have more funk."
  • Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys said in Rolling Stone, April 15, 2004: "I remember the first time I heard Rebel Without a Pause: We were on tour with Run-D.M.C., and one day Chuck D put on a tape they had just finished. It was the first time they used those screeching horns along with this incredibly heavy beat -- it was just unlike anything I had ever heard before. It blew my wig back.
    To me, Chuck D is the most important MC in hip-hop. On a strictly MC'ing-skill basis, I rank him up there with the best: His power and cadences on lines like "Yes/The rhythm, the rebel/Without a pause/I'm lowering my level" is unmatched. Then if you take into account what he's actually saying, it puts him on a different plane from any other MC. The combination of him and Flavor Flav is incredibly effective: Chuck is so straight and direct, and Flav brings this wild randomness to it. They complement each other perfectly." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • This was used in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

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