ESHE Magazine recently had the opportunity to catch up with
Chuck D of Public Enemy. Chuck D, a hip hop pioneer, political activist and member of one of the most legendary groups in the world, Public Enemy shared his thoughts on the state of hip hop music, the 25th Anniversary of “Fight The Power,” outlets for Hip hop music worldwide and his mission in hip hop today.
Chuck D is a hip hop icon and a member of the most iconic hip
hop group of all time, Public Enemy. PE has been a pillar in the hip hop community for over 25 years. Their sound, message and ability to connect with music listeners have been transcending. Those attributes are part of the reason that this group was able to transcend music and particularly hip hop on an international level. PE has made music that resonates with the conscience. America has been a society that has to an extent formulated the viewpoint and mindset of many of its citizens. This has happened through many mediums; pop culture, Hollywood, music and politics. Enter Public enemy. The music of Public Enemy tells a story by giving you facts. The facts given trigger the listener to think. Thinking leads to resolution and resolution leads to revolution. Revolution leads to change. “Fight The Power,” “Public Enemy No. 1” and “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” are just a few songs that awakened the subconscious of the American establishment. In 1989 “Fight The Power” (off of the “Fear Of A Black Planet” album) received a great deal of Notoriety as it was released and also sound tracked by legendary director Spike Lee for his movie “Do The Right Thing.”
When asked if he thought the song would become as big and monumental as it has became, Chuck D stated “No I didn’t think the song would be as big as it was.” Spike Lee wanted a song from PE for the movie and that is when the magic was made in the studio. Chuck stated that “he didn’t know the impact which the song would have” but with this year being the 25th Anniversary of the release of not only “Do The Right Thing” but also “Fight The Power” it is impossible to ignore the impact of that song. “America wasn’t ready for that video. It was angry black people marching, calling for a change to come.” This song synchronized perfectly with “Do The Right Thing” since the movie put the nation’s ills in regard to racism, stereotypes and interaction (or lack thereof) of the different groups of people in a neighborhood on the big screen. 25 years later the voice of Chuck D on this track and its resounding message of standing up for what you believe, fighting for what is right is just as powerful as it was in 1989. April 18th 2013 was a monumental day in hip hop as Public Enemy joined The Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five with an induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Chuck D noted that the sum of all of the parts of PE was the reason for their success. “We is better than me. That is how I feel. We could do more as a group than I ever could. The group’s effort collectively is the reason for our worldwide impact.” Chuck understands PE’s impact and he is pushing for the induction of another hip hop icon. “We are now doing a push for LL Cool J as a solo artist to be inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.”
PE just finished a tour in the UK. When asked about the impact of hip hop and the fan base nationally vs. internationally Chuck described how in a sense it’s bigger than hip hop. “Music in general has a fan base all over the world. Every place has their type of music, what they are known for. For example, Memphis is the home of the Blues, the Birthplace of Rock and Roll. That music is worldwide. All genres of music are worldwide. Culture is what brings people together; government divides and separates people.” Chuck D. summarized who he is today at this stage in his life in one lyric.The track titled “RLTK” from the 2012 album “Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamps” personifies Chuck D. 100 percent; “At the age I am now If I can’t teach I shouldn’t even open my mouth to speak.” Featuring DMC, this track relays the message of its title; Real Talk. Talk that needs to be happening all the time in this society about things that will better people’s lives, bring people together, instead of distancing people from each other and from issues that are impacting lives. “My Only goal in Hip Hop past the age of 40 (which was 13 years ago) is to provide service. If I can’t provide service I’m wasting my time. We aggregate rap stations, help people get their labels set up. I’ve got to combine service and leadership and give light to those that need light.” Chuck D’s voice is heard not only in music and in discussions on various topics at symposiums and news interviews; Chuck D has been the narrator of many documentaries that have proven to be as powerful in its information as Chuck D is in his delivering of the message. Chuck D. Public Enemy. Hip Hop Pioneers. Hip Hop Revolutionaries. The impact from the music of Public Enemy is timeless and continues to be transcending in its effect on people worldwide. Chuck D knows his mission and puts all of his energy into spreading his knowledge not only for the betterment of hip hop, but for the masses to have a better perspective on life and the many things going on in life and how EVERYBODY is affected worldwide.
Connect with Chuck D on Twitter @MrChuckD
Connect with Public Enemy on Twitter https://twitter.com/publicenemyftp
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