Chuck D Says That In Hip-Hop, The Third Verse Is “Becoming Useless.” Do You Agree?

Approaching Public Enemy’s 13th studio Man Plans, GOD Laughs (slated for July release), Chuck D is in the midst of a press campaign. An affiliate of Chuck D’s Rapstation Network, Tim Einenkel, recently interviewed the Long Island, New York legend for his The Library podcast. In one excerpt, the booming vocalist made a powerful point about Rap songs in today’s climate.


Speaking about some changing trends in Hip-Hop, the 30-plus-year veteran stated, “I believe that a 20 year-old MC, and a 16 year-old MC, and a 30 year-old MC could come up with lyrical gymnastics. But if you did something like that before, what are you proving against yourself? Let the music breathe.” Continuing, Chuck spoke about the shortening of Rap songs. “We eliminated the third verse—which I think… increasingly, as we go [into the future] with Hip-Hop, I think the the third verse is becoming useless; that’s why you see a lot of collabs.” An avid sports fan, Chuck equated the remix and collab to a three-pointer in basketball, a special tool in certain circumstances. “After a while, it becomes a crutch.”

Presumably describing his group’s own forthcoming album, D noted. “The vocals are sparse, but heavy and powerful.” Moving back into the condensing of song lengths, Chuck declared that he believes it is a product of EDM going mainstream, and ringtones in the mid-2000s. “What a ringtone did for a an MC is signified as something between a ringtone’s [duration] and something that covers a two-verse area. I personally feel that there’s a burnout area in Hip-Hop and Rap music.” In the mid-2000s, artists like Chamillionaire, Soulja Boy, and MIMS found success through the sales and technological allowance of ringtones. However, to the MC vet, it brings the ideal length of Rap songs down, making it something along the lines of 3-5 minutes. Pointing to some of his ’80s Rap peers, Chuck D specifically credited Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper” and “My Adidas” for this quality.

In the wake of albums like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly (something P.E. has outwardly cited as an album influence) do you agree? T.P.A.B. featured four of its 16 songs beyond the 5:00 mark. This week’s #1-selling album, Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, has only two songs (the intro and outro cuts of the LP’s 14) exceeding the 5:00 time.

For more info on Man Plans, GOD Laughs, visit Public Enemy’s site.

Related: Public Enemy’s 13th Album Is Inspired By Kendrick Lamar & Run The Jewels