Grove Press
Canongate U.S.
Canongate U.S.

Don’t Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin’

The Authorized Story of Public Enemy

by Russell Myrie

A rare behind-the-music look at Chuck D, Professor Griff, and Flavor Flav’s groundbreaking collective hip-hop assault that was Public Enemy—a group that fought the power, terrorized the music industry, and was crucial to the development of the hip-hop music phenomenon.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date October 12, 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2994-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $15.00
  • Imprint Canongate U.S.
  • Page Count 272
  • Publication Date March 10, 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-8476-7182-0
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $23.00

About The Book

Public Enemy is one of the greatest hip-hop acts of all time. Exploding out of Long Island, New York in the early 1980s, their firebrand lyrical assault, the Bomb Squad’s innovative production techniques, and their unmistakable live performances gave them a formidable reputation. They terrified the establishment, and have continued to blaze a trail over a twenty year period up until the present day. Today, they are more autonomous than and as determined as ever, still touring and finding more ingenious ways of distributing their music.

Russell Myrie’s Don’t Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin’ is the first authorized biography of Public Enemy. Myrie has had unprecedented access to the group, conducting extensive interviews with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, Professor Griff, the Shocklee brothers, and many others who form part of their legacy. He tells the stories behind the making of seminal albums such as their debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show, the breakthrough It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, and multi-million selling Fear of a Black Planet. Myrie delves into the controversy sparked by Professor Griff’s alleged anti-Semitic remarks, the complexities of the group’s relationship with the Nation of Islam, the group’s huge crossover appeal with white and alternative music audiences in the early nineties, and finally the strange circumstances of Flavor Flav’s re-emergence on reality TV with shows such as The Surreal Life and Flavor of Love.

A rare behind-the-music look at the group that fought the power, terrorized the music industry, and was crucial to the development of the hip-hop music phenomenon.


“A comprehensive account of [Public Enemy] . . . Myrie explores the group’s most controversial moments . . . One for the B-boys and B-girls.” —Sunday Business Post (U.K.)

“This affectionate portrait should be treasured by the many b-boys whose lives were immeasurably altered and enriched by Long Island’s finest.” —Hip-Hop Connection

“An invaluable, educational insight into the DNA of hip-hop. A necessary read.” —DJ Semtex, BBC 1Xtra

“It would take a nation of millions to hold this book back!” —Dizzee Rascal

“[An] exceptional and brilliantly titled tome . . . incisive, insightful and dead interesting.” —Maxim **** [four stars]

“Public Enemy’s is the greatest rap ‘n’ roll story of them all . . . [Myrie’s] book is studded with glittering new anecdotes [and] hitherto unknown details . . . bejewel a terrific account of the band’s early days.” —Angus Batey, Mojo

“Public Enemy made hip-hop that was more than entertainment. They inspired a lot of people who believed that you can effect change through music.” —Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys