Fight the power!!!Fight the power!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Today’s mental workout for Superhero Tuesdays enshrines the indomitable Chuck D from the legendary hip hop band, Public Enemy. However, they were much more than a hip hop band, perhaps a conscious movement for equality and justice. Public Enemy provided the true soul of what hip hop should aspire to be, Chuck D carried that flame proudly. I can’t speak for Flavor Flav and all his antics, but for Chuck D, it wasn’t about the money, fame or the bling bling you see nowadays associated with the industry, the mission for the pioneer was to inspire the black community. Public Enemy changed the rules of hip-hop, they expanded upon Run DMC’s street oriented beats and rhyming to revolutionary production techniques of blues, funk and soul. In order to project their extraordinary shocking message, they employed groundbreaking samples of police sirens, political speeches, news broadcasts, guitars and hard drum beats resulting in a rebellious musical blitz to the ear drums. Chuck D’s empowering baritone brought life to the social problems facing disadvantaged communities. Some critics alluded to some racial overtones, however Chuck’s mission was for self-knowledge and self-awareness for black people everywhere to lift themselves up from negative circumstances, instead of expecting the powers-that-be to do it for them. Say what you will about the band, the message was undeniable, it was something that black people needed to hear and they communicated it through the medium of music to reach the most at-risk demographic. Public Enemy was undeniably the most influential and radical band of their era.

Public enemy went beyond socially conscious lyrics to empower the black community, they also attacked the overall corporate mentality of taking away individual expression in the workplace for all races as well as the treatment of black women in American culture. They of course took a shot at Hollywood's depiction of black characters in film combined with the media treatment of news concerning blacks. It’s remarkable that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the band in which a double album will be released. Their message remains timeless. You only have to look around at the state of the hip hop industry today and imagine the potential if more artists used their power of platform to promote substantive messages instead of all the illusions and nonsense we get today. Chuck D tried to communicate a message of self-knowledge to the youth as something they could gain on their own that could never be taken away by the powers-that-be. The band understood the deception of spreading lies and falsehoods in hip hop for the sake of fame and album sales was detrimental to the entire community as a whole. Their music made an inward impression which trumps all outward expression of mansions, oversized jewels, fast women and fast cars. Unfortunately, in this world the deeper messages generally land on deaf eyes, the superficial tends to reign supreme, but the battle must go on and we hail Chuck D and Public Enemy for taking the road less traveled.