People Who Are Addicted To Music
After more than 25 years of pushing buttons, Public Enemy still has a knack for provocation.
Take the case of Rep. Trey Radel, a Republican from Florida, who recently told the Now This News social video website that he’s a Public Enemy fan and that the group’s songs “in many ways reflects the conservative message.”
Not exactly, said PE frontman Chuck D.
“There is a bit of a conservative nature to what Public Enemy is about, but really we’ve gone against a lot of the things that America has placed on our freedoms as well,” said Chuck D, aka Roosevelt, N.Y., native Carlton Ridenhour.
“I thought it was a convenient thing for somebody to say because he grew up at the time or he followed the music at a certain time. Public Enemy is really about real truth and justice for all people. I call myself an Earth citizen instead of an American citizen.”
Public Enemy, whose hits include Don’t Believe the Hype, 911 Is a Joke and Fight the Power, is touring throughout the summer with LL Cool J, Ice Cube and De La Soul on the Kings of the Mic Tour.
Call Public Enemy the Kings of Rock, too. The group, which includes hype man Flavor Flav, was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It was very gratifying because we’ve always stood up for our genre to be accepted as real music,” Chuck D said. “We decided early on to make a groundbreaking difference in our music, our lyrics and the application of what we thought about us as a people amongst people and human beings.”
On the music side, the densely mixed sonic squall that underscored the Public Enemy hits, courtesy of Hank Shocklee-led Bomb Squad, was a precursor to the electronica and electronic dance music of today. Also, their 1991 collaboration with Anthrax on Bring the Noise all but created the Nu-Metal genre of music.
“We’re one of 36 groups on the first ballot (to be inducted into the Hall),” Chuck D said. “It wasn’t because we were competing against Deep Purple, Kiss or whoever, it’s because we’re at the top of our genre for being groundbreaking. There’s a lot of naysayers who say they should be in a music hall of fame instead of a rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame. I say rock ‘n’ roll all comes from the blues and you have to pay attention to the black creativity, that’s what it is.”