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From their form in New York in the mid/late 1980s, Public Enemy were a highly influential rap group. Over an innovative brand of hip hop employing samples and scratching by DJ Terminator X, Chuck D's raps were frequently explicitly political, often concentrating on black pride and black power and taking a militant stand on many issues. Their earlier work was also explicitly influenced by the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Other members of the group were Professor Griff, who was accused of anti-Semitism, and Flavor Flav, who provided some comic relief.
See also http://www.publicenemy.com/ and Chuck D's online record label http://www.slamjamz.com