Chuck D Uses Acronyms & Wordplay To Talk About Race, Radio & Rosenberg (Audio)
Last week, HOT 97 radio host, DJ, and member of the Low Budget Crew, Peter Rosenberg publicly apologized to Public Enemy front-man Chuck D. The words followed a month-long social media debate, which bled its way onto airwaves and interviews, following HOT 97’s 2014 Summer Jam. After the Long Island, MC/producer (who also has long hosted an Internet radio show) had criticized the local Hip-Hop station for a litany of self-proclaimed violations, Rosenberg questioned the “Fight The Power” maker’s present-day relevance in the culture.
Although the apology is out there, Chuck D is far from over speaking about what bothers him regarding the issues. One of Rap’s most heralded voices was this week’s guest on The Combat Jack Show. Joined by fellow Bomb Squad member, and one of P.E.’s greatest weapons, Keith Shocklee. There, Chuck kicked his essay about why HOT is making broad assumptions about its listeners’ backgrounds, and owes its base a lot more than its delivering. Along the way, Chuck speaks from the perspective of a middle-aged Black man, a music-fan, a father, in addition to his pivotal role in Hip-Hop. Questioning HOT’s self-reported demographic studies, Chuck drops some signature acronym re-workings, from genre labels, to TV networks, to radio stations.
Later in the interview, Chuck D uses Rosenberg’s initial claims to point to bigger problems in the Hip-Hop discussion, from the resources available to decide who is best, to urging artists to stop using money as a unit to determine rank or ability.
The discussion grows further into discussing the place of age and wisdom in Hip-Hop (as well as race), and then Chuck opens up about his own experience. He reveals that “Public Enemy #1” was recorded in 1984, the terms of his deal, fighting for Flavor Flav’s place in Public Enemy, and of course, why he’s always been so partial to the Pittsburgh Pirates cap.
With Combat Jack’s growing town-hall place in Hip-Hop culture, this may one of his finest hours (it’s really over three hours). While Chuck D is one of Rap’s more loquacious voices, this interview and commentary touches on the crossroads of culture, and some valuable perspective, historical context, and frustration from one of the very people who made Hip-Hop an educational vehicle.
What do you think about the issues at hand now? With Chuck D making points like this, have you heard P.E.’s last two albums (Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp and The Evil Empire Of Everything), in as many years? Might be time to listen…