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Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age is the fifth studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released on August 23, 1994, by Def Jam Recordings. Its title is a stylization of the phrase "music in our message" (or "music and our message").[3][4] The album debuted at number 14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 56,000 copies in its first week.[4]

Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age
Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 23, 1994
LabelDef Jam, PolyGram
ProducerThe Bomb Squad, Gary G-Wiz, Keith Shocklee, Kerwin "Sleek" Young
Public Enemy chronology
Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age
He Got Game
Singles from Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age[2]
  1. "Give It Up"
    Released: July 1994
  2. "I Stand Accused"
    Released: December 1994
  3. "So Whatcha Gone Do Now"
    Released: July 1995

Upon its release, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age received generally mixed to positive reviews from most music critics,[5][6] amid controversy among critics and fans over Public Enemy's relevance in hip hop at the time.[7]



Commercial performanceEdit

Due to a change of the album's release date, negative reviews from publications such as Rolling Stone and The Source were published a month prior to the album's first sales week.[4] In spite of this, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age fared better with its first week sales of 56,000 copies than most of Public Enemy's previous albums.[4] The album quickly fell off the charts, as sales were negatively impacted by Def Jam's move from Sony Music to PolyGram during its release.

Critical responseEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Chicago Tribune    [9]
Entertainment WeeklyB[10]
Los Angeles Times    [11]
Q     [12]
Rolling Stone     [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [14]
The Source2.5/5[15]
The Village VoiceA−[16]

According to music journalist Neil Strauss, music critics initially accused Public Enemy of "being out of touch, of launching a weak attack against the trend toward gangster rap, of writing second-rate rhymes, of producing the album poorly, of using a bad pun for the title ('music in our message') and of being too old".[4]

Spin (8/94, p. 84) - Highly Recommended - "Knee deep in the age of gangsta, at the anticlimactic millennial edge of a world already gone wrong, Public Enemy has dropped its latest."

Entertainment Weekly (8/26 - 9/2, p. 112) - "... it takes true guts to dis gangsta rap and to challenge the black community to confront its problems ..." - Rating: B

Q magazine (9/94, p. 106) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "Fact is, the lay off has just made Public Enemy sound fresh again ... because they've regained the wicked combination of sonic disturbance and loose, rabblerousing funk that drove classic jams like 911 is A Joke."

Alternative Press (9/94, pp. 80–81) - "Yeah, we've heard it before but Chuck can make waves even when he's treading water ... MESSAGE may be PE's most consistently enjoyable disc."

Vibe (8/94, p. 105) - "... a tour de force of densely constructed music and verbiage. Snippets of Stax-Volt grooves, reggae, soul, and metal bop and weave over gut-punching bass lines and wicked drumming while front man Chuck D lets fly with ... pronouncements, warnings, and accusations ..."[17]

Melody Maker (8/20/94, p. 35) - Recommended - "This LP isn't just a stunning return to form for Public Enemy, it's perhaps the most powerful horrified answer to what you are doing to black culture yet."

NME (12/24/94, p. 22) - Ranked #20 in NME's list of the 'Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'

Track listingEdit

All songs were written or co-written by members of Public Enemy, except "Godd Complexx", which was written by Jalal Mansur Nuriddin a/k/a Alafia Pudim.[18]

  1. "Whole Lotta Love Goin on in the Middle of Hell" – 3:13
  2. "Theatrical Parts" - 0:28
  3. "Give It Up" – 4:31
  4. "What Side You On?" – 4:07
  5. "Bedlam 13:13" – 4:07
  6. "Stop in the Name ..." - 1:21
  7. "What Kind of Power We Got?" – 5:31
  8. "So Whatcha Gone Do Now" – 4:41
  9. "White Heaven/Black Hell" - 1:06
  10. "Race Against Time" – 3:21
  11. "They Used to Call It Dope" - 0:30
  12. "Aintnuttin Buttersong" – 4:23
  13. "Live and Undrugged, Parts 1 & 2" – 5:55
  14. "Thin Line Between Law & Rape" – 4:45
  15. "I Ain't Mad at All" – 3:25
  16. "Death of a Carjacka" - 2:00
  17. "I Stand Accused" – 3:57
  18. "Godd Complexx" – 3:40
  19. "Hitler Day" – 4:28
  20. "Harry Allen's Interactive Super Highway Phone Call to Chuck D" - 2:55
  21. "Livin in a Zoo (remix)" – 3:38

An extra track titled "Ferocious Soul" is included on the CD as a pregap hidden track.


Credits adapted from CD Universe.[18]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Strong (2004), p. 1227.
  3. ^ McGovern, Gerry. "Review: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age". Hot Press: September 21, 1994. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  4. ^ a b c d e Strauss, Neil. The Pop Life: Public Enemy's Enemies. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2010-01-01.
  5. ^ Iwasaki, Scott. "Musical Scene Fizzed with Nostalgia, Trends". Deseret News: F3. December 15, 1994.
  6. ^ Product Page: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age. Muze. Retrieved on 2010-01-01.
  7. ^ Considine, J.D. "Review: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age". Chicago Sun-Times: August 28, 1994.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age – Public Enemy". AllMusic. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  9. ^ Kot, Greg (September 1, 1994). "Back On The Beat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Browne, David (August 26, 1994). "Muse Sick N Hour Mess Age". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  11. ^ Siegmund, Heidi (August 19, 1994). "Power of Past Is Public's Own Worst Enemy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "Public Enemy: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age". Q (96): 106. September 1994.
  13. ^ Touré (July 14, 1994). "Public Enemy: Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Relic, Peter (2004). "Public Enemy". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 661–662. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  15. ^ "Public Enemy: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age". The Source (58). July 1994.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 13, 1994). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  17. ^ Sinclair, Tom. "Review: Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age". Vibe: 105–106. August 1994.
  18. ^ a b "Public Enemy - Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved January 5, 2013.


  • Nathan Brackett; Christian Hoard, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  • Strong, Martin Charles (October 21, 2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate U.S. ISBN 1-84195-615-5.

External linksEdit