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Chuck D on Public Enemy’s New LP and Legacy of ‘Nation of Millions’


#Public #Enemy’s recent, guest-star-laden #What #You #Gonna #Do #When the #Grid #Goes #Down? is, undoubtedly, the greatest album ever made by a hip-hop group 35 years deep into its career –  in that it’s almost certainly the only album in that category thus far. #That distinction aside, it’s genuinely excellent in its own right, with #Flavor #Flav – whose status in the group seemed unclear for the while – fully in the mix, and an energized #Chuck D leading the way.

#Chuck D talked about making the new album (which largely brings together songs released as singles over the past few years) and looked back at the birth of his group’s 1988 masterpiece #It #Takes a #Nation of #Millions to #Hold #Us #Back, in an interview also used in part for our 500 #Greatest #Albums podcast, hosted by #Brittany #Spanos and made in partnership with #Amazon #Music.

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#How do you think about making albums differently now versus the #Eighties?
#So if I got a choice to listen to 10,000 songs,  why am I going to stay with one artist through 10 or 14? #What would what would actually make me stay with that artist?

#And what’s the answer?
#Nothing! I mean, it’s different. #We always thought like #Iron #Maiden or some metal band, as opposed to some rap group, because hip-hop was still a singles medium when we started. #You had to have two or or three hits to be able to get an album, which was no different than the #Sixties, if you want to talk about #Motown or #Stax #Records. #And we came out just with albums. #So we had to think conceptually, from the get-go.

#Now, people have less of an attention span, whether they’re old or young. #You could tell a whole album’s story in five tracks. #You can do like the #Doors did in 1968 and close out an album in less than 25 minutes. #You could do a movie in 15 minutes for this era.

#You always sound like yourself without sounding dated. #How do you approach rapping now after styles have shifted immeasurably since you started?
#Well, you know what you are, and you know you’re not. #You know your abilities and you know your limitations. I wouldn’t mind trying something that might end up with an ugly result, or I would fail at. #Part of #Public #Enemy’s mantra is, try something, never repeat yourself, but try something that might be crazy. I could live to regret, for example, if I wore some wack-ass shit. #But experiments in sound? #If it doesn’t work, I won’t cry about it.

The biggest thing that made us different from other situations that we didn’t care about being loved. I mean, #Rick #Rubin chased me around for two years [to sign Public Enemy]. #So that changes your whole attitude of how and what you’re going to deliver. #We didn’t really care about being loved and liked. #So I guess maybe that was a little bit punkish. #But regardless of what anyone thinks of myself and #Flavor, you can’t unhear us. #You can’t unhear us.

#You and #Ice-T mesh really well on “Smash the #Crowd,” from the new album. #His rap career started a bit before yours; what’s your relationship like?
#Well, #Ice-T is in rare air. I think when #Ice first recorded that song [in 2017], he was the only 60-year-old MC out. I mean, there’s #Wonder #Mike from “Rapper’s #Delight” but he hasn’t done any new recording. I always tell him, you’re the ice-breaker for us to follow.

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There’s a great remix of “Fight the #Power” on the album that you did for the BET #Awards. #Is it a little wearying to know that the song is just as relevant 31 years later?
#So that’s the second “Fight the #Power” that we made in 1989 [P.E. borrowed the concept from the Isley Brothers’ 1975 song]. The #Isleys’ song resonated to me, as a 15 year old. #So we decided to say, that’s the sentiment, and this theme that #Spike #Lee wants [for #Do The #Right #Thing]. #But the quickest thing to realize is that, yes, it’s a long time, from ’89 to 2020, culturally, but it’s a short time in real life. #So you can’t go around saying, haven’t we gone through this before? #You’re always attacking systemic racism, you’re not going to say, “everything is cool now in white supremacy. #And we could just like lay back.”

#How did you get the surviving members of the #Beastie #Boys and #Run-DMC to come together for “Public #Enemy #Number #Won”?
I reached out to them to say for my 60th birthday [in August 2020], I want to pay homage to y’all. #Let’s get on this track and roast it. #Now I always work with the great DMC, but I was really totally awestruck and farklempt by #Run also being enthusiastic about it. #And also #Mike D and #Ad-Rock, breaking their code of not making a #Beastie #Boys record without MCA. They’re the ones that actually dragged me in to the industry, slowing me down for #Rick [Rubin] and convincing me to [sign to Def Jam]. #You guys dragged me into this thing, so I’m going to drag you guys back in with this song.

#So, ‘It #Takes A #Nation of #Millions to #Hold #Us #Back’ jumped up to #Number 15 on our new 500 #Greatest #Albums list. There was such a stylistic leap between that album and your debut, #Yo! #Bum #Rush the #Show. #Was the change in your flow just from hearing people like #Rakim?
#Two guys helped me design a rhyme pattern which would help me with faster speeds. #And that was #Rakim, especially on “You #Know #You #Got #Soul,” and also KRS-One, particularly on the song “Poetry.” KRS-One and #Rakim were able to take faster speeds and make the beats go to them. #That was different from what #Run-DMC and #Schoolly D and #Houdini and everybody were doing. They were rhyming to the beat and keeping up with the beat. #And then people were able to figure out faster beats. A guy like #Big #Daddy #Kane was just phenomenal once he went on took on faster beats, too. #But nobody was messing around with our beat areas, like 109 beats per minute. #So it was faster, it was stronger, and it was aggressive. #So even to this day, you can’t mix #Public #Enemy records with a regular DJ set. #It’s just totally different attacks on the music.





[ source link ]
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/chuck-d-on-public-enemys-new-album-and-legacy-of-nation-of-millions-1090332/

##Chuck ##Public ##Enemys ##Legacy ##Nation ##Millions

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