Watch extremely rare footage of Public Enemy and Ice-T performing in war-torn Croatia in 1994
(Credit: Alamy)

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Watch extremely rare footage of Public Enemy and Ice-T performing in war-torn Croatia in 1994

It’s no secret that Ice-T and Public Enemy were closely associated in the 1990s when their heavily politicised strain of hip-hop was in its supremacy. Their hardcore rap dealt with heavy subjects, including racism, police violence and drug use, and together Public Enemy and Ice-T set the world alight, offending all the right people.

When Public Enemy were at the peak of their powers, Ice-T was hailed as an ally and one that they could always count on. Famously, in the booklet for their 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet, the Body Count frontman was referred to as ‘The Soldier of the Highest Degree’. More recently, he collaborated with the New York group on their 2017 track ‘Smash The Crowd’. 

During the mid-’90s, both Public Enemy and Ice-T would unite under the banner of Ice Cube, who had left NWA in 1990. During the recording of his debut solo album that year’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, he would travel to the east coast to work with Public Enemy’s production team, The Bomb Squad. He initially wanted Dr. Dre to record his solo effort, but due to the internal politics of NWA, Ice Cube went east, choosing to work with America’s other premium purveyors of punishing beats. 

In 1994, the trio of acts would head out on the first-ever US hip hop tour, which was also named after Cube’s album. The significant thing about the tour was that it stopped for a show in Zagreb, Croatia on November, 23rd. This was massive news as, at that point, Croatia was waging its long War of Independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Incredibly rare footage from the show has been unearthed, which features interviews with both Flavor Flav and Ice-T. Of the momentous show, Flav says: “The only message that I have is, that we know that there’s a lot of negativity going on here in the land and we hope that it turns into positivity one day. You know what I’m saying? You know, one thing that we don’t promote is war, we promote peace. We wish that there be peace here in Croatia.”

Using his platform for good, Flav concludes: “For all the young people, get that education because that education is definitely the key to a good survival. Respect your parents, respect your teachers, most of all, respect yourselves.” 

We then get to watch a snippet of Public Enemy in their prime, and it is electric. Flav and Chuck D are on fire, whilst Terminator X provides some blistering beats.

Afterwards, it cuts to a brief interview with Ice-T, who echoes Flav’s responsible sentiment. He says: “This is, like, one of the best shows on the tour. We’re glad to be the first rap groups to come over here. We’re gonna tell everybody in the States to come here, and it’s really cool to be in a situation that’s so serious, going down so close. To see the kids having fun, that’s really important.” 

The clip of Ice-T’s set features a snippet of his classic track ‘I’m Your Pusher’, and he commands the show, with the audience bouncing wildly, scenes you’d be expecting to see at a Body Count show. However, this is Ice-T, and his stage presence is huge. We can only imagine what it must have been like for the Croatian kids in the audience, able to escape from the grim reality of the war and lose themselves to the music of some of rap’s pioneers. 

Interestingly, it is said that Tupac was also announced as part of the show, but never made it. What a show that would have been.

Watch the brilliant snippet below.