Chuck D’s Open Letter On Media, Messages & Pimps

[Note: Chuck D wrote this essay as a letter to Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur (AllHipHop.com) and Davey D (DaveyD.com). With permission, the message by the Public Enemy leader, has been edited slightly into a scathing editorial about the media, Hip-Hop and the how the culture has been pimped by a mere few.]

Chuck D:

I really don’t know what constitutes for “relevant” coverage in  HIP-HOP news in America these days, but I really want to give you all a heads up. As you know I’ve been through three passports, 76 countries on the regular in the name of Hip-Hop since 1987 and in 2010, although I’ve never stopped traveling the earth this year, I’ve seen, heard and felt some new things.

As far as RAP and HIP-HOP, it’s like USA Olympic basketball, the world has parity now and have surpassed the USA in ALL of the basic fundamentals of HIP-HOP – TURNTABLISM,  BREAKING,  GRAFFITI, and now EMCEEING with succinct mission , meaning and skill. Skill-wise rappers spitting three languages, have created super rappers to move the crowd with intensity and passion. The “arrogant” American comes in blackface, but if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don’t think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass or even ass for that sake.

Personally, Public Enemy has been setting records in a record book that doesn’t really exist. The 20th year anniversary of FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET has become into a year and a half celebration of eights legs and five continents. All the while, looking at a HIP-HOP Planet across 25 countries while still somewhat supportive of American rap, the rest of the world has surpassed the U.S. in skill, in fundamentals and commitment to their communities. Public Enemy’s mission is to set the path, pave the road for cats to do their thing for a long time as long as they do it right.


Because of the lack of support from local radio, television and community in the United States, the ability for “local” acts to thrive in their own radius has killed the ability to connect and grow into a proper development as a performer, entertainer and artist. Rappers trying to get put on to a national contract hustle from a NEW YORK or LOS ANGELES corporation has caused the art-form to atrophy from the bottom, while never getting signed to a top echelon that really doesn’t exist, but to a very few.

HIP-HOP NEWS spreads like any other mainstream NEWS in America. The garbage that’s unfit to print has now floated on websites and blogs like sh*t. For example a rapper working in the community gets obscured while if that same rapper robbed a gas station he’d get top coverage and be label a “rapper” while getting his upcoming or current music somewhat put on blast, regardless of its quality which of course is subjective like any other art. RAP sites and blogs are mimicking the New York POST.

This is not mere complaint , this is truth and its coming down on Americans like rain without a raincoat with cats screaming how they ain’t wet. This is real. The other night upon finishing groundbreaking concert performances in Johannesburg we followed a special free concert in Soweto. To make a point that our agenda was to “show? and encourage the Hip-Hop community to be comfortable in its mind and skin without chasing valueless Amerikkkan values.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

It does the people of the planet little good to hear that an an artist is famous and rich, will wear expensive jewelry straight from the mines, show it off, stay it the hotel, ride in limos, do the VIP with chilled champagne in the clubs, ape and monkey the chicks (meaning not even talking) and keep the dudes away with slave paid bodyguards when real people come close. The mimic of the VIACOM-sanctioned video has run tired, because it shows off, does NOT inspire and it says NOTHING.

Here in South Africa PUBLIC ENEMY has done crucial groundbreaking performances. Its the same level of smashing the house that we’ve done this year in Moscow, New York, Paris,  London , Chicago and other places this year. This is not news  We are not trying to prove any point other than to show that a classic work is timeless and doesn’t have a demographic per se. The Rolling Stones and U2 are NOT measured by mere tracks’ they are measured by the all-around event they present. The art of the performance has left Hip-Hop whereas somebody has led artists to do more performing off the stage than on it. The agenda here is to create artist exchange

This serves as a call to the infrastructure-less Hip-Hop game in Amerikkka. We know what your hustle is, but what is your work and job here? Faking it until making it runs its course in a recession, which is a depression for Black folks who increasingly are becoming more skill-less as they become jobless.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

Since the music has so much power, and image has become everything to the point that it can dictate the direction of a person in their life, it is my mission now to really become a “freedom fighter” and stop this radiation. With Jay-Z and others who, for years would faint their worth, the statement of “with great power comes great responsibility,” is more true. Words are powerful and they can both start wars and bring peace. This cannot be taken lightly. Its important for the words to be body with the community. If not one dime of $250 million doesn’t benefit the people who contribute to it then why does that warrant coverage above the will and effort of many in the music who have done great things.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

I turned 50 this year. Everyday I get the question whats up with Hip-Hop today. If nothing was wrong the question wouldn’t be the dominating question I get. I do massive interviews worldwide. I’m covered from varied aspects Hip-Hop, Public Enemy, social issues, musicology in general. So, my interactive world dialogue is deeper and more present than 140 characters.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

I am tired of the silence of people that know better. There is nothing worse than a person that knows better and does worse. Or says nothing.

And makes excuses for bulls**t.

You know damn well HIP-HOP in the USA has fell way the f**k off as the American dollar and much of America itself. Held up and dictated by White business lawyers, accountants in New York, and Los Angeles offices.

To dictate to a community and not even live or be with the people is offensive. VIACOMs reach into Africa to turn HIP-HOP in to Amerfrica, which is as exploitative as those slave-makers who carried us across on boats. The decisions made in a boardroom in New York City while these cats scurry to their high rises, and suburban mansions from cultural profiteering must stop. And I’m going to do something about it.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

My agenda of Hip-Hop around the world is in line with its creators, who followed Black Music. The music had the people’s back. It has never been my personal agenda. Americans arrogantly have no back. Hip-Hop has followed this. I am disturbed by the fact that I tell artists that doing work in their community will get them little or no buzz for their effort, but in the same sense if they robbed or shot someone or did a bid they would get national and sometimes international attention.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

So many of your favorite people suck up to the NBA and NFL, because it has order and when you make the game look bad David Stern or Robert Goddell is kicking their asses out . They are the indisputable HWIC, and negroes are in line and silenced. But here in Hip-Hop the dysfunctionality reward makes the money that puts food on many tables.

Its time, because I hear too many excuses. I wont allow what’s in the USA f**k up what I and others worked hard to instill. I drive a ’94 Montero, a ’97 Acura, and have no expensive jewelry. There is nothing on this planet materially that is better than myself. This is what I instill in many doing Hip-Hop that nothing is greater than what is given.  These games of people doing anything to get things has seeped into my way so therefore witness some radical virtual things coming from me in protecting the art-form of Hip-Hop.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

So, I’m going after the few.

I’m tired of it.

Chuck D from CaPEtown, South Africa.

Public Enemy’s 71st Tour
6th Leg of a Fear Of A Black Plan Tour

Chuck D is an emcee, author, producer and civic leader, among other things. He also happens to front a legendary, revolutionary rap group called Public Enemy. Public Enemy is renown for their politically charged lyrics, frenetic production style and penchant for shaking up the power structure.

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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; same thing---------this phiscal year im'a stay hot, buzzin / wit dudes that help me shoot like a-rod's cousin-------i fight chicks who bite dicks / give 'em lock-jaw then make 'em fight pits ------all we see is terrorism on telievision ------i'm da illest nigga alive watch me prove it / i'll snatch your crown with your head still attatched to it ------slap your face till your head ache your neck break / the next day slash your throat thru the neckbrace ------ I'm ahead of the game, ahead of these lames / I'm a head case, the head nurse gets me better with brain ------ure now dealin with da kid who heat-holds & reloads / like god gave him a gta ammunition cheat-code ------once upon a time i used to grind all night / with dat coke residue that was ipod white ------ --i took trips with so much shit in the whip / that if the cops pulled us over the dogs would get sick (sniff) ------ i put my lifetime in between the paper's lines / i'm da quiet storm nigga who fight rhyme ------brain cells are lit ideas start to hit / next the formation of words dat fit / at da table i sit making it legit / when my pen hits da paper...aah shit -------i save money while u spendin ure doe / i must stash like da hair between your lip & your nose ------age don't count in the booth / when your flow stayed submerged in the fountain of youth -------when i'm writing i'm trapped in between the lines / i escape when i finish da rhyme - ------if we can't eat together then u aint my mans / so when u see me in da streets dont shake my hand- -----money is da root of all evil / dats why u always gotta now where u stand with your people--------i can show u how to gamble your money, handle a gun / & be a family man & go home to your sun- -------black diamonds in my jesus-piece / MY GOD-------its like da ball be over the plate & they dont call it a strike- ------i'm a gangsta & a gentleman, show you both sides of the coin / knife at your throat-gun at your groin- --------my testimonial be "death to a phony mc / you wanna impress me, show me a ki--------lord knows what homey would do if i showed him da 9 / a one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind--------on da road to riches & diamond rings / in the land of the blind a man with one eye is the king--------you lack the minerals & vitamins, iron & the niacin--------stares get exchanged then the 5th come out / the tough guy disappears then the bitch come out--------if you got a bith you dont argue with dat bitch / you dont listen to dat bitch all you do is fuck dat bitch-------know da bitch b4 you call yourself lovin it / nogga wit a benz fuckin it------went from $20Gs for blow to $30gs a show / to orgies wit hoes i never seen befo'-------i'm intelectual; passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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