In fact, their story is quite similar to that of N.W.A., right down to the fact that Doctor Dre was instrumental in their success. It's just that it's this Doctor Dre ...
You know the one!
... whom you maybe recognize as the former co-host of Yo! MTV Raps and, even more importantly, the co-star of the cinema classic Who's The Man?
Yes, I do actually own that poster.
Still, his influence was enough to give the group the break they needed. The parallels don't end there. For one thing, founding member Chuck D and Flavor Flav met while Chuck was in college. One of my first thoughts upon hearing that an N.W.A. movie was coming out was whether they'd cover the fact that Ice Cube was actually a communications major at some college in Arizona when they formed the group.
Public Enemy was also among the first rap groups to add an element to their songs that hadn't been seen in the genre previously: politics. They weren't just sort of political, though; they were militant about it. So much so that their stage show included a full-on security team doing choreographed march numbers while carrying Uzis.