Chuck D: A Hero To Most

Chuck D: RubyHornet Interview

What more can you say about Chuck D, the front man for Public Enemy? Really, what can you say? So much ink, video reels, and audio tapes have been devoted to Chuck D and his musical brilliance that this intro is probably one of the most difficult that I have had to write in all my time of writing interview intros. I could write about Chuck D’s rise to prominence with the groundbreaking force that was Public Enemy, the group that brought the noise, and said Elvis didn’t mean s**t to them. I could also write about his days at Adelphi University where he rocked parties with the Bomb Squad and first met the Media Assassin Harry Allen. I could write about his early embrace of the internet and digital music, which is now manifested through his digital record label, SlamJamz. I could tell you that it was Chuck D who first identified Hip Hop as a form of CNN, and it has been Chuck D who has remained one of its top reporters and authorities. His commanding voice and equally charged lyrics have made Chuck D one of Hip Hop’s greatest emcees, and his love of music and the art form have served as inspiration for countless individuals, myself included…

I had the chance to chop it up with Chuck D last week when he came to the Windy City for the Pitchfork Music Festival, where his Public Enemy performed their classic LP, It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. Prior to the performance, Chuck participated in a panel discussion with his fellow Bomb Squad members, dissecting the album, it’s use of sampling, and the creation of Public Enemy. After the panel, Chuck and I spoke about the Def Jam days, Hip Hop’s relationship with technology, the responsibilities of its curators, and the divide that needlessly exists between artists such as Soulja Boy and Dilated Peoples. Check it out to see “What Goes On!”

Alexander Fruchter

Original co-founder of RubyHornet. President of Closed Sessions

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