911 Is A Joke By Public Enemy

Fear Of A Black Planet

1990 | Rap

Spotify | Amazon

"I call a cab cause a cab will come quicker. -- The doctors huddle up and call a flea flicker."


  • Hit #15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and #1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, their second #1 after "Fight the Power."
  • For the Kinsella crowd, if the samples used on Fear of a Black Planet had been cleared under modern rates, each copy of the album would have generated a loss of $5 for Public Enemy.
  • There is an interesting cover of the song by Duran Duran on the album, Thank You.


Luke Tatum

So let me get this straight: You centralized all of your emergency dispatching. How is that working out for you? Joking aside, I can tell you something from experience. Whether it's police or emergency medical services, there are a lot of issues with getting response units where they are needed, quickly. I have a bit of history in auto claims, and I can't even tell you how many people shared with me that 911 dispatchers told them a variation of "Is someone seriously injured? Everyone is busy." This is the kind of thing people get up in arms about when the private sector does it, but public services get a pass. Why is that?

Sherry Voluntary

This song lays out one of the most frustrating points that libertarians make about State run "services" that hit many inner city communities hardest of all. The lyric "Don't you see how late they're reacting,They only come and they come when they wanna, So get the morgue truck and embalm the goner, They don't care cause they stay paid anyway," says it plainly. Competition incentivizes performance. When The State creates a monopoly it removes the competitive pressure, and often doesn't provide necessary resources, thereby providing poor service and making everyone poorer in the process.

Nicky P

I wanna make two points. First. Why aren't all protest tracks this danceable? I know i'm biased because i like the mood and tone of the late 80's/early 90's hip-hop exceptionally...Early 00's ATL hip-hop is pretty sweet too but that's a digression. The second point I need to make require's me putting on my Ice Cube "Teachable Moments" cap and filtering it through some Thomas Sowell. I'm more than happy to chant 911 is a joke specifically for reasons involving the police...that's not where this song takes it. Quite the contrary and in beautiful Flava Flav fashion he tries to place the onnus of reaction times for ambulances on the private institutions...hilariously then praising another private (albeit crony) institution for satisfying needs. We could write an entire book on the meddling of the government into the medical sector causing resources to not go as far or outright making certain levels of care illegal or unprofitable. I'm not gonna write that book because Bob Murphy already did, with an actual ER doctor, Doug McGuff. Primal Prescription is a fantastic and easy read, someone should send Flav a copy.

Created By
Nicky P

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