Results for Public Enemy

interviews

Chuck D

In the wake of Don Imus‘ offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team a couple of months ago, there's been a lot of discussion about language, race and sexism that has spilled over to the hip hop realm. Black leaders such as Oprah Winfrey and Al Sharpton have been questioning the use of certain words and imagery in the hip hop lexicon, but perhaps the most significant statement was made by one of the architects of the music genre, Russell Simmons. The Def Jam Recordings founder and leader of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network released a statement that recommended members of the recording and broadcast industry self-censor their use of the words“bitch,”"ho" and the n-word.

Jim and Greg wanted to dedicate this segment of the show to asking the question: Do these words still have a place in hip hop? To get the answer they first invited on Public Enemy rapper and radio personality Chuck D Chuck explains he was on tour oversees when the Imus controversy went down, and it reminded him of how“funny”language can be in America. Chuck says that he wishes people like Russell Simmons had approached long-standing members of the hip hop community and tapped into grassroots movements before crafting his statement, but he agrees that not all words should be accessible to everyone all the time. Sometimes an artist does need to use strong language, but commerce shouldn't be built around it. And, because they craft words for a living, he expects that rappers in particular should be able to be more creative with language and not rely on the same set of words.

Go to episode 82

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15
specials

Copyright Criminals

Musicians throughout time, from Igor Stravinsky to MC Hammer to Girl Talk, owe a great debt to sampling. The act of quoting, re-contextualizing or“stealing”from other artists has become an art form in itself. But the practice of sampling has also caused a lot of controversy when it comes to the law and ideas about intellectual property. So Jim and Greg spend the bulk of today's episode digging into sampling. First they talk to Kembrew McLeod, a filmmaker and professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa. His latest documentary, Copyright Criminals, examines debates about the value and legality of sampling.

Jim and Greg also play their favorite sample-based songs:

Go to episode 277
reviews
Nothing is Quick in The Desert

Public Enemy Nothing is Quick in the Desert

Earlier this month, Hip-hop stalwarts Public Enemy released their 14th album, Nothing is Quick in the Desert. The release was available as a free download for only a limited time; but can still be listened to on YouTube. Greg notes that the group has been around for thirty years, providing important, socially conscious rhymes on albums like 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. This album attempts to continue that tradition. Jim can do without Flavor Flav, but Greg disagrees saying that the emcee adds“comic relief”and“flavor”to what can be an otherwise“heavy”group. However, Jim adds that Chuck D provides insightful, politically charged lyrics. Jim says that though half of the album is "as good as anything Public Enemy has given us", he can only give the record a Try It. If you are looking for the old Public Enemy, according to Greg your best bet is to seek out“old Public Enemy”music. But, the group is still an arena-rap draw, he says; and the material on the album will play better on the stage. In that context, Greg gives the album a Try It, as well.

JimGreg
Go to episode 608
Proof of YouthProof of Youth available on iTunes

The Go! Team Proof of Youth

Brighton, England sextet The Go! Team also released an album this month called Proof of Youth. Jim and Greg first became aware of the group after they performed at the Intonation Music Festival in 2005 and released their debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike. This sophomore effort follows the same exuberant formula, pairing cheerleading-style vocals with samples and horns. Greg thinks they borrow much of their aesthetic from Public Enemy, but the key difference is production. While the hip hop group provided great beats and a heavy bottom, the Go! Team album was very hard for Greg to listen to — very tinny, no bottom, and like a second rate Public Enemy recording. He gives it a Trash It. Jim couldn't disagree more. He finds their high-energy performance totally fresh and irresistible. Proof of Youth has been making Jim smile since the first time he listened to it, so he gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 96
lists

Best Cover Songs

In the age of karaoke and“American Idol,”it's easy to forget how great a cover song can be. But, as Jim and Greg discuss, an artist's interpretation of someone else's song can often be better than the original. In those cases, the performer brings passion and a new spin to a song. During the course of the show, Jim and Greg run down their picks for best cover songs. (For an even longer list of noteworthy cover songs, go to the thread on the Sound Opinions Message Board.)

Go to episode 79

Songs About America

Sound Opinions celebrates Independence Day this week with Jim and Greg's favorite Songs about America. These are great rock songs that capture our country's spirit — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Go to episode 136

Songs About Radio

This week's feature celebrates an important, albeit struggling medium: Radio. Last year national radio revenue fell 18%, and the industry overseas isn't immune either. Even powerhouse BBC has been facing tough economic times. While bands have many other methods of promotion and distribution these days, radio airplay still significantly boosts record sales. Musicians are now looking to radio performances as another source of revenue. Jim and Greg both fondly remember discovering new bands on their FM dials. To honor that legacy, they play these great Radio-Inspired Tracks:

Go to episode 223

Songs About the Music Business

Rock ‘n’ roll is all about railing against the“man.”And for musicians, there's no bigger man than the record business. Some songs celebrate music's great A&R men and women or label heads. Many more skewer the suits. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites:

Go to episode 418
features

Sample Platter: James Brown's "Funky Drummer"

Stubblefield's drumming also formed the rhythmic basis of hip-hop, with his breaks being sampled hundreds of times. Most famously, a few bars of his playing on "Funky Drummer" from 1970 has become one of the most sampled pieces of music of all time. Jim and Greg do a Sample Platter, charting the track's use in dozens of rap and pop hits, from Public Enemy to LL Cool J to George Michael.

Go to episode 587
news

Music News

Chuck D is always“fighting the power.”This time around he's taking on Universal Music in a $100 class-action lawsuit, alleging that the label has short-changed its artists and producers in licensing deals for digital downloads and ringtones. The suit says that artists are entitled to 50% of profits from digital downloads, and that currently Universal is paying out as it would for physical product, giving a lower royalty rate and deducting for physical media charges like containers and packaging. The Public Enemy front man is just one of many artists to take to the courts during this digital music revolution. Eminem recently won a landmark case against Universal, and previously Cheap Trick and the Allman brothers settled a similar suit.

Members of the hip-hop community are mourning the death of rapper Heavy D this week. He died Tuesday at age 44. Jim describes the“Overweight Lover”as larger than life in every way. He wasn't a hardcore rapper, but was full of charm and humor. He also moved over to the film and television worlds, appearing in The Cider House Rules, Tower Heist and Boston Public. To say goodbye to Heavy D, Jim and Greg play his 1991 hit "Now That We Found Love." It was written by Gamble and Huff and recorded by The O'Jays and Third World, but it's Heavy's version we'll always remember.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNWmF3SYzZI&index=1&list=RDcNWmF3SYzZI

Go to episode 311

Music News

Changes are afoot at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only will Donna Summer, Rush, and Public Enemy take their places in the Hall this April, but the institution also has a new CEO. Greg Harris started his career at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and assumed the Rock Hall's top job this January. The appointment earned him a shout-out from none other than The Roots' drummer Questlove, who whiled away his youth combing the bins at Harris's record store, the Philadelphia Record Exchange. Harris talks to Jim and Greg about the Rock Hall's notoriously-secretive induction process, why he doesn't mind Johnny Rotten bashing the Hall, and why Rush fans are the most polite fans in rock.

Go to episode 381

Music News

First in the news, the state of Illinois may impose a tax on digital music and film downloads in order to help bail out its $13 billion deficit. If the legislature approves Governor Quinn's proposal, Illinois would join 19 other states that currently have such a tax and be able to get $10 million revenues annually. Per usual, this has prompted partisan debate, but Jim and Greg doubt either party is much concerned with the music fan's perspective.

One of rock's biggest stars, Paul McCartney, is going indie. The former Beatle has announced a plan to take his solo catalog from major label EMI and move it to the independent Concord label. McCartney previously worked with Concord as part of his now defunct Starbucks Hear Music deal. EMI is one of 4 big music companies dominating the industry these days, and as Jim and Greg explain, these labels depend on back catalog revenue. It takes little overhead to repackage an album from an artist like McCartney, and they can reissue it over and over again to new consumers.

Jim and Greg next discuss rapper Guru who died last week. The hip hop artist moved to New York City just in time for the genre's golden age. He developed alongside Public Enemy, Run DMC and Tribe Called Quest, to name a few. Guru joined up with DJ Premier to form Gang Starr, a duo with a revolutionary sound fusing rap with jazz. This, along with his fluid vocal style, made Gang Starr one of hip hop's most influential acts. To honor the late artist, Jim and Greg play "Jazz Thing," a track from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack featuring jazz musician Branford Marsalis.

Go to episode 230