HipHopDX.com recently landed an exclusive interview with Chuck D, the frontman for the iconic hip hop group, Public Enemy. The messages of Public Enemy remain true over twenty years following their period of dominance. Chuck D, who still raps periodically, is now more of a commentator on the rap game and the political landscape. For the most part, Chuck D has been disappointed in the way both have played out over the years.
In the first part of his interview with HipHopDX.com, Chuck D explained a number of decisions he has made over the years. Chuck D came under fire when he sued the estate of The Notorious B.I.G. over the sample of his voice in the “Ten Crack Commandments.” While he intended to sue the estate, Chuck D said the lawsuit had “nothing to do with Biggie.” Chuck D also spoke on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “throne,” which he said is fueled by corporate greed.
The second part of Chuck D’s interview with HipHopDX.com picks up with the conversation focusing on Too $hort, who blamed Island Def Jam head, Barry Weiss, for the shift in his music from social conscious to completely freaky. In response to this, Chuck D said Barry Weiss should come under fire for forcing Too $hort to go in this direction. Chuck D revealed he had stuggled with Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen when he was at Def Jam. While he struggled with them, he said he has no issues with them, only issues with their structures.
HipHopDX.com focused back on Too $hort’s comments about the shift in his lyrics. Too $hort said he believed the major labels all agreed to put an end to socially consicous hip hop. HipHopDX.com countered that Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, which consolidated ownership of radio may have had something to do with this, also. Chuck D said Bill Clinton’s act played a pivotal part, but had more damage on independent hip hop, as it is harder for independent acts to gain radio play. Still, Chuck D feels the act was the worst thing to ever happen to hip hop.
After speaking on his own career, which has been controversial, with Chuck D receiving death threats and more, along with his endorsement deal with Naked Suits, the conversation shifted to Barack Obama. Four years ago, Barack Obama had the support of seemingly everyone. Hip hop was behind Obama and he rode his popularity to the White House in near-landslide proportions. But, the first three years of his presidency have been very shaky. HipHopDX.com admitted to supporting Obama in 2008, but had questions about the upcoming election.
Chuck D said the motivation for voting in 2012 is to not let the “other dude” win. Explaining the Republican Party, Chuck D said he feels they want to wipe black people off the face of the Earth. In their minds, according to Chuck, they see black people as immigrants who have come to the United States illegally and undocumented. Without Barack Obama as president for another four years, Chuck D sees this coming into play. Chuck D also pointed out how much work Obama has done over the past three years and how a rival candidate would not be able to handle the job.
With the presidency only lasting for eight years, at the most, Chuck D said it is hard to maintain power, but credited Barack Obama as a powerful man. One thing which comes along with the presidency is the power. Chuck D pointed out how things have changed over the years and many would call him “getting too deep” with the comments about the president. But, three decades ago, his statement would have been viewed as common sense.