Chuck D in the Rubber City

Submitted by DerekArnold on Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:21.

After leaving Cleveland last night, I high-tailed it to the Akron-Summit County Public Library's well-renovated Main Branch to hear Chuck D speak about Race, Rap and Reality. 

Consistent with his desire to communicate with the people and not at them, he referred to his hour-plus engagement as a conversation.  

His main themes "Race, Rap and Reality" were predicated on three things: geography, history and time.  He talked about how we are often disconnected and become prey to predatory forces in our society (crass commercialism and violence) by not being students of history.  We also limit ourselves due to geography from connecting with people with whom we could otherwise relate.  He also stated that mastering time is futile.  We can manage time but that's as close as we are going to get. 

He talked about "Dumb Anus"..excuse me, Don Imus and talked about how the lack of historical knowledge of hip-hop allows for those who market hip-hop to manipulate it into whatever they want it to be as opposed to keeping it true to the long spirit of expression of Africans and African-Americans.  Because of this lack of historical context, the powers that be are attempting to rewrite what "black" means so they can build legions of consumers, black and white.

On a lighter note, he addressed some of the antics of one of his partners, Flavor Flav.  As PE fans know, Flavor Flav is the godfather of hip-hop hype men.  His often zany exploits are often all that some people can see. Chuck said Flav is family and he was as he has always been...some of the other things (the house, the manservant, etc.) weren't.

Afterwards, he signed books and chatted with the audience and that's when I got to meet him.  He's a really cool guy.  We talked about him and his show on XM and Air America as well.  I have enclosed a picture.

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Dumb Anus I know who that is...


Cuz I posted on Imus, but I don't know who "PE fans" are...please fill me in.   Big E Smalls and Tupac had messages that I understood...but I have a hard time with some of the latest rap. 
Now as I said in my post on Imus here, we vote with our wallets.  We vote real stupid much of the time, that's why the Detroit 3 just went over the edge like lemmings.  Stupid buyers intoxicated by stupid sellers.  Now we'll pay twice recovering our economy. 

Link us in to a piece describing the originating context and meaning of hip hop rap.

Thanks for reporting from Rubberville!

Learn more about Chuck D here.

Hey Jeff - You will really like Chuck D on all levels - start by reading his bio on wikipedia here (which strangely mentions his Akron appearance). Then consider this below, from Wired here:

Chuck D, leader of Public Enemy, vehemently opposes what the industry is trying to do.

"Technology giveth and it taketh away, and the industry knows this," Chuck D said. "The horseshoe makers probably got upset at the train manufacturers because (the new industry) took away their transport dominance, just as the train manufacturers probably got mad at the airline industry."

"I think this expands artistry and it's about adjustment," he said.

"As an artist representing an 80-year period of black musicianship, I never felt that my copyrights were protected anyway," Chuck D said. "I've been spending most of my career ducking lawyers, accountants and business executives who have basically been more blasphemous than file sharers and P2P. I trust the consumer more than I trust the people who have been at the helm of these companies.

"The record industry is hypocritical and the domination has to be shared. P2P to me means 'power to the people,'" Chuck D said. "And let's get this to a balance, and that's what we're talking about."

Disrupt IT

PE = Public Enemy

    Public Enemy is one of the most important hip-hop groups, especially during the late 1980's to early 1990's.  The group primarily consisted of childhood friends from Roosevelt, Long Island, New York. Chuck D (nee Carlton Ridenhour) and Flavor Flav (nee William Drayton) were key figures of the group.


Fantastic picture with one of my heroes

Awesome, Derek - I would have loved to have gone to this. Chuck D really grabbed my attention for his bold position on file sharing and making content free (pro) - and his very early experiments with music and the internet, even involving the  public in his music making process - PE is amazing - and rock on Akron Public Library... I was awed to see another of my music arts heroes David Byrne give his PowerPoint talk there a few years ago - described here.

Disrupt IT

Not surprised

Not surprised you met at a library...a meeting of minds.