It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us BackÂ is the secondÂ studio album from Public Enemy, released on June 28, 1988, byÂ Def Jam Recordings.Â Â Public Enemy set out to make the hip hop equivalent toÂ Marvin Gaye’sÂ What’s Going On, an album noted for its strong social commentary. Recording sessions took place during 1987 atÂ Chung King Studios,Â Greene St. Recording, and Sabella Studios in New York City. Noting the enthusiastic response toward their live shows, Public Enemy intended withÂ Nation of MillionsÂ to make the music of a faster tempo than the previous album for performance purposes.
The album charted for 49 weeks on the USÂ BillboardÂ 200, peaking at number 42. By August 1989, it was certifiedÂ platinumÂ by theÂ Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the United States. The album was very well received by music critics, who hailed it for its production techniques and the socially and politically charged lyricism of lead MCÂ Chuck D.Â
Since its initial reception,Â It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us BackÂ has been regarded by music writers and publications as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time.