The Chuck D of Public Enemy Interview: Soul and Sports Part 1


Just so you know, this entire week is dedicated to Martin Luther King on The Starting Five. We don’t do the one day thing…April 4th is just as important because it documents the true struggle of Blacks. I won’t belabor you with an extensive lede on the accomplishments of Chuck D and Public Enemy. We all have recited his lyrics at one time or another on the site, so just see this as a P.E. discussion continuum. Part II tomorrow.

Michael Tillery: Chuck, what’s going on with Public Enemy?


Chuck D: We just completed our twentieth year. That’s 60 tours, 60 countries. We rapped up with two dynamite concerts in New York–we planned it that way. Welcome to the Terrordome, a film documentary on the 20 years of P.E. aired at the Director’s Guild of America. The comparison would be Led Zepplin’s The Song Remains the Same. It’s in film festival release. It’s gonna be a must see.

MT: There’s a level of consciousness pervading our site. Remember when we did the first interview and spoke of this time coming and here it is. I’m sure there’s more, but I know of our blog and other’s similar. It seems it’s us against the world. There’s Temple 3, SOMM, Black My-story, Cosellout, Black Fives, Sportaphile and others (my bad for leaving anyone out) or are cutting out a presence and getting some exposure. I’m honored to be a part of all this.

Chuck D: Well you know I love the Muhammad Ali logo.

MT: Wow that’s the synergy I’ve spoken to you about before. In Can’t Truss It, you said, “Beware of the hand when it’s comin’ from the left.” In the picture above, Muhammad is throwing a left. The line has always resonated with me after your interview with Curt Loder of MTV back in the day. So, I say all this just to say I was actually apprehensive to get that pic in the logo. I’ve always wanted to ask you this. What did you mean when you spit that line?

Chuck D: Sometimes when people come and want to color themselves liberal or Democrat, they think they are in your best interest. You gotta keep your stance, because you never know where that hand is coming from. Friends and also enemies obviously come in all shapes, sizes, colors and all directions. You have to recognize yourself before you recognize who is an ally and who is an adversary.

MT: Every Friday, we throw up a couple questions called Friday Fire. One that I didn’t think got much run was How do you want your sports reporting? Mistaken, or blurrrrred? Gilbert Arenas’ picture from his blog accompanied the question. We’re starting to see a trend shaping with athletes putting their own voices to words. Your thoughts?

Chuck D: It’s been a long time coming. The 60’s brought in a new state of athletic mind–which was influential to me since I was a kid. When I was around ten or eleven, there was a period between ’67 and ’72 where Black athletes would make statements because they didn’t have accessibility to the mic. They would make statements by changing their names. I remember this very clearly. Every sport had an athlete changing their name to make a statement. These would not just be religious statements, but statements of athletes letting us know they were thinking a little bit differently than the status quo. Of course we know about Cassius Clay and Muhammad Ali and Lew Alcindor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. There was Walt Hazzard and Mahdi Abdul-Rahman. I remember Wally Jones writing a book with a bunch of political theory. Keith Wilkes becoming Jamaal Wilkes. There was Bobby Moore becoming Ahmad Rashad.

I didn’t know the exact details, but I know this had a profound affect on me. Wally Jones–guard for the Sixers wrote a book on some political tip. When athletes starting writing books based on their point of view, I thought that was heavy. The media at large did not like that shit at all man. They didn’t want these athletes turning into little Eldridge Cleavers. I also see these people being pushed out and ostracized because once this point of view was given a buzz on the mic, equipped with knowledge and could take the interview to a whole another place? These cats were presenting a change to America–whether they wrote or spoke.

I also remember very clearly the announcer talking to Dwayne Thomas, who had just tore shit up after the Cowboys won Super Bowl V, and Thomas simply responding with “Evidently”. It was a stain in my brain man. The only time we saw Black men on TV were as athletes. We didn’t really see Black men in entertainment. We had to wait for the Ed Sullivan show, or American Bandstand, or Don Cornelius…

(Bet you all haven’t seen this)

…talking to artists. You just didn’t see it–especially giving athletes the mic. So that was a long answer to a short question. Now with athletes and blogs, .coms and always having pocket gadgets like I-pods, phones or PDA’s, they can go across the world from their own pocket while they are waiting for a flight. Those words are ringing much louder than a journalist who might not be equipped to ask pertinent questions of what’s on an athlete’s mind. They are having the same conversation over and over and over and over again. No one asks questions that lead up to a particular game and shapes the outcome.

Athletes can get the word out quicker than an interview.

MT: From my experiences, I see how national news is shaped on the local level. A lot of these cats don’t have a vast amount of knowledge on the subject because it’s not what they see everyday. This is how fan’s opinions are shaped–which is a shame.

Chuck D: Do you think Black journalists have access to get the true story?

MT: I know when I’m in front of someone I’m possibly not going to come across again–at least for awhile–I’m going to get the best answer I can. A lot of these guys are on the beat, so they don’t dig deep. They want the story and get out. It’s a time thing. I have different luxury. I think I add something different to a press conference because my objective is different. I do see athletes or coaches focusing in on me because of familiarity. I’m also asking them real shit. I have to do research and try to get into an athletes head and get the best story possible.

Another Friday Fire question that was popular was This is the Difference Between Jason Whitlock and Bill Cosby. People have their opinions of Mr. Cosby, but being from the Philly area, he’s always in the city. He’s always there–whether it be with Men United, or on his own accord, at least he is there.

Chuck D: And he’s been there Mike for most of people’s lives.

MT: This is how the media shapes our minds. You have a national media member at a Bill Cosby event and the reporting gets a superficial spin, so even Black folk’s opinion of Bill gets skewered.

Chuck D: Because of that portal from that one national reporter at the event who is there wanting to put his own spin on the event.

MT: Exactly. I grew up with Bill Cosby–and not just Fat Albert or the Cosby Show–because again, I’m from the Philly area. We have a totally different view of him here. I’ve seen him in the ‘hood my entire life. Regardless of what he’s saying, I find it hard to have a bad opinion of him because of his presence in the inner city.

Chuck D: As opposed to Jason Whitlock coming from his spot in the Midwest where they value his contribution. I guess to each his own huh?

MT: Yes.

We talked about Jamaal Tinsley after the incident with him went down. Is there any right or wrong way for athletes to go about their daily business without getting jacked?

Chuck D: I wrote something on my Terrordome blog saying that athletes today–like entertainers–are usually treated like cattle from their accountants, lawyers and agents. They are not given enough development tools of how to fit in with the environment. You have to look at yourself different. You have to do more fittin’ in than fittin’ out. The game, and the people who are handling you are always going to fit you out of your environment. You have to figure out what kind of public relations you have to learn to get yourself back into your surroundings. Athletes, artists and entertainers today don’t have it because it’s just not set up to teach them the necessary tools.

Before it used to come from coaches and their managers. There was never such a big gap between athletes and entertainers in the neighborhoods. The neighborhood had a structure and a principle to it. The structure and principle has eroded. The only structure and principle they see is on the field or court. The two have not been connected for quite some time. The piece was called The Ability to Shine down. When that shine is bright in your surroundings that are hungry? There is no defense for that. You have to look within and find out how to turn that shine down.

NBA athletes? They have to work a little harder. They are six foot six walking into a club. It might take them not having the flashiest jewelry or the fanciest car. I’ve been living in Roosevelt Long Island for damn near most of my life. I can’t have a Lamborghini in the driveway. I can’t walk around with diamond encrusted jewelry around my neck. I could, based on the people knowing me and my principles, but why even go there?

Somebody might say: “Yo man, why do I have to change my ways?” Well you might not have to use an umbrella when it’s raining, but the weather precipitates you doing something to not get wet.

In this country they put so much of a big space between celebrities and fans, what happens when the two connect? Where are the teachers of diplomacy? Where’s the learning platform for a person stepping into a crowd of thirty people asking for autographs, a piece of their time or a conversation? This has to be taught. It can’t be something where it’s being avoided by having three thick bodyguards dealing with two people telling everyone to move out of the way. That does not work. In times of a recession, it will continue to work less. You are going to see more jackings and you’ll see more athletes become targets. People think they can rob them and get money.

MT: It seemed like Jemele Hill and I were battling some of the readers of our blog because I spoke of my experiences as a bouncer. Having guns to my head. Seeing people get shot all because people are profiling at 3:40 in the morning. What do you say to folks who say I’m making millions of dollars, so this is my right and I should be able to do whatever I want to do?

Chuck D: I would say they aren’t being realistic. Freedom is also walking in the jungle and daring the lions to jump at your head (Chuck and I laugh). You have a right and freedom to walk almost anywhere on Earth, but you have to be cognizant of your surroundings. The surroundings are not conducive to for you to think you have the right to walk or drive down the street with the richest car when everyone in your surroundings are A: Starving. B: Jealous. C: Totally uninformed of your reality. Something has to connect the two.

What needs to happen in sports is a serious conversation on creating a developmental program that reattaches athletes back into the hood instead of having public relations tell the Black athlete to be supportive of making the fans feel comfortable with the athlete filling the seats.

Public relations is making White America feel safe and good about paying their money to see this cat.

Just like in basketball, you can’t move your pivot foot. Athletes have their pivot foot in the hood and also in other places. Don’t get caught traveling now. Keep your pivot foot planted. Don’t lift that foot up. One you pick it up and try to bring it back in, you are going to have to reaffirm your position.

This is something that has to be taught in all sports. The way athletes can figure out plays, they are going to have to figure out plays and judge their life accordingly.

We know the obvious man. The prison complex is thick. The economy and the environment young Black men are coming up in now in the next twenty years is looking bleak. They don’t have any trade. Any answer to the deficiencies that Black men have. The jails are being built to handle one or two million more people than they are handling right now. There are already people predestined to go into jail right now for committing some kind of crime. Included in those crimes will be jackings. They are building the spots for the warm bodies to come in and keep the inmates warm.

With our young kids, there’s no standard of principles they are able to attach themselves to. There’s a lack of teaching for them to travel the road of the new millennium. Some of them can’t travel the same old road of the seventies and the eighties. Growing up, I thought all athletes were Teflon. I thought that no one would shoot or kill and athlete. When it’s done, you start to think about how vulnerable a Black athlete or entertainer really is. In the same piece I mentioned above I write about Lyman Bostock. He was an outfielder for the California Angels. He’d just had an unbelievable season–I think in ’77. He learned a lot of technique from Rod Carew. He was killin’ em. He’d signed with the Angels as a free agent–one of the first big young guys to do so. The first year of him making this money, the Angels played the White Sox. He was from the Chicago area and went over to Gary, Indiana (when playing Chicago, he had grown accustomed to staying there). It remains unclear, but he got shot and killed in the back of somebody’s car. When the news hit, I was totally stunned. There’s been incidents along those lines–in rap and ball. I thought something like this wasn’t possible, but now it’s become a reality.

These histories have to be taught, but also how to handle yourself when you are in that crowd or surroundings.

I’ve been in different countries Mike, where cats with money need an army to keep people from getting in their cribs. Some have these little mansions in the middle of the poorest of areas. They have high walls with barbed wire to keep people from the village from climbing up into the rich area. They also have about twenty people doing on call watch just to keep their families comfortable. They know that kidnapping is rampant. They know robbery is rampant. They know most people around them have nothing. We need to learn from zones like that. You best believe that baseball players from the Dominican Republic have to find a way. The soccer players getting money going home in Peru and Argentina have to find a way. This is new to the United States because now cats have to figure another way out. The other way is figuring out how to deal with your people. It boils down to what service are you lending to your people that makes you teflon.

Stephon Marbury–albeit in the middle of having a bad season and also dealing with the unfortunate passing of his father–has made more sacrifices in the past couple of years than many athletes I’ve heard of. He provides affordable gear and went into the Coney Island area and bought up all the barber shops so kids can get free hair cuts.

I’ve never heard anything as incredible as that. Stephon Marbury can walk threw Coney Island and has an aura. People know he’s looked out. Nobody will touch him in the hood. His cousin Sebastian Telfair doesn’t have the same ring to him. He hasn’t earned it. He hasn’t done anything for the people as of yet. He might come from it, but needs to get that pivot foot there. Stephon has a lifelong investment there and is protected. Stephon Marbury can step into a club and people will say “He’s us”. Some of the guys just don’t have that.

MT: Ron Artest does a lot as well. I learned a lot about what he does in the hood. He’s a great interview.

Chuck D: Ron Artest is another one. Even the year he was suspended he spent a lot of time going to high schools, handing out sports gear and talking to a lot of young people. He has that same aura that he’s good people.

MT: You know how I do our interviews Chuck. I want them long so people can not take things out of context. With Artest, I let him speak on whatever came to his mind. I receive emails all the time regarding that interview. I don’t think the questions were anything special, it’s just the way they were asked. It’s confusing to me why corporate interests want to paint athletes in a less than genuine way. I’m talking about any athlete here. There is then this notoriety in public the athletes couldn’t possibly live up to.

Chuck D: A good testament to someone is how they work and live in their environment. It’s one thing for someone to come 50/50 with someone out of their environment, but can they follow a person in their environment for more than a day? You may have a different take on it after that.

If you are a professional from the hood, you have to leave the hood. You gotta leave the hood. You can live wherever you want, but that doesn’t absolve you from coming back to the hood and maintaining that presence. That gets lost in the mix.

MT: Not asking for your political affiliation here Chuck. Some are beginning to, but why aren’t Black folk throwing their support behind Barack Obama?

Chuck D: They feel Barack Obama hasn’t talked to Black people enough. Black people are also smart enough to say just because you have a Black face doesn’t mean you get automatic love. We are at a time where words have to ring with some sort of style and substance over appearance. If I were to look at Barack Obama real quick, I would think he was somebody from the Nation of Islam. That’s alright with me, but what comes out of his mouth is something where he’s trying to straddle some sort of line that he’s not a thug to White folk. People behind Barack Obama–even Oprah–are just giving it their best shot to make sure America feels comfortable with him not to be president, but that he can be a running mate to Hilary Clinton so people can still vote for her. He’s got a presidential investment to make America feel comfortable with him as a vice president.

That’s probably what it takes for a Black face to get up into those high ranks.

MT: So he’s the pioneer.

Chuck D: Yeah and coming in at the top is just too much for America and probably too much for him being he’s inexperienced.

MT: That’s what I’m hearing from a lot of White folk I talk to that he’s unqualified…

Chuck D: Well coming into a position like that, his job is three fold. A White guy goes in there his job is one fold–get the country back on track.

Barack Obama gets in there and he has to get the country back on track, prove that you are a safe Black man and you love us all and meanwhile be able to have an international discussion to prove he’s the best human being possible and make sure America steps in line with everybody else instead of thinking they are hovering above everybody.

Hilary has a two fold job. Get the country back on track and prove that she can be as good or better than she is now.

The bottom line is and people always say “Chuck why do you always talk about race?”

Race is one of these things if you ever look at the statistics, not only have you had a White man as president unanimously since 1790, but the man who has lost to the man has been a White man (We laugh). What does that say?

Those mothafuckas are like UCLA’s winning streak!

UCLA never lost until Elvin Hayes beat ’em. That was the shock of the world.

Maybe Barack Obama can be the Elvin Hayes of presidential elections.

MT: Crazy, but when you called after I left the Wachovia Center, I’m driving home and see this big ass truck with the biggest rebel flag flying like it’s 1861 all over again.

Chuck D: Probably with rap music coming out (Chuck and I laugh).

MT: I was blaring my own rap music so. I actually was playing revolution at the time to get ready for this interview, so the moment was surreal.

Are we regressing in terms of race relations? Are we going through a racial redevelopment?

Chuck D: Yeah, because America is not glued into the rest of the world. Classism and racism is going around the world and are things the world has continued to try to figure out and not get crumbled by it, but it’s a worldwide effort to put it in check. You have many creeds, tones, colors–whatever–so race is a funny game.

In the United States when it detaches itself from the rest of the world, ignorance is homegrown based on it’s limitations. If you never understood how silly the concept of racism is anyway, it kind of builds a platform that even becomes more ridiculous by believing there is such a thing. All of this has influenced all the maladies we’re currently experiencing.

MT: Is racism our biggest problem, or it’s all about the money?

Chuck D: You best believe that when America sees Barack Obama they are saying, “Well there’s a Black man.” Right there is something that’s based on appearance. That just changes the whole thing. Maybe it would be a different thing if dude was like seven hundred pounds right and said he was running for president. The first thing people would say is “Damn this is a big mothafucka!” (Chuck and I are cracking up)

The same thing with Hilary Clinton. People see a woman. Again, based on appearance. We’re crippled by our first mode of communication–eyesight. Our visibility is not based on what they say, it’s what they look like. That’s some second grade shit. It is what it is.

Classism hovers very close where people can throw it to the side at first and deal with the nilks and crannies of what’s really affecting, but most can’t get past race.

Racism helped create the fucked up structure of classism. Some class is higher and then levels of people of color. Black people are totally out.

Racism was like steroids to classism and we still haven’t gotten out of it.

MT: Speaking of steroids…sup with the Mitchell Report?

Chuck D: Mike, let me tell you man…First let me say that I’ve been going around cursing Roger Clemens. The reason why I’ve been cursing Roger Clemens–and I don’t give a damn if Roger Clemens did steroids or not–is because I’ve been saying for a long time he’s been making a mockery of the game by switching and flipping teams. Roger Clemens has been more of a disgrace to baseball than Pete Rose.

How the fuck are you gonna say “I’ll think I’ll play with Houston…nah I’ll play with the Yankees.”? You can’t flip flop teams. Free agency messed the fans faith up. The fans can’t say nothing because this is thirty years later. Once upon a time fans felt sorry for the ballplayers because the owners were making all the money. Now it’s flipped the whole other way.

The ballplayers have no loyalty to the game–just to the money.

People say, “That’s the way sports is.” So. I don’t have to connect myself with that.

Before you even talk about steroids with him, you gotta talk about the damage he’s done to the game. So all that talk about Barry Bonds going to jail–not only getting him on steroids, but getting him because he lied to the court? That’s some bullshit man.

You have players that steroids didn’t do a damn thing for. Steroids didn’t do a damn thing for Andy Pettitte. Matter of fact, if it was up to me…take some more of them shits until you pitch right! (Laughter)

You know, reading books like Jim Bouton’s Ball Four growing up talking about greenies and all kinds of other shit all in the dressing room. How can I look at steroids being a threat? Once this brotha like Barry Bonds ever got a hold of them–rubbing in the creme–then all of the sudden it’s “Oh, your not fair”. They were saying it anyway because he’s been better than anyone else for years.

How come they don’t have steroids testing in basketball?

In the mid ’90’s there were some cats diesel like they were hitting something. I’m not even going to name any names…

MT: I’m not either.

Chuck D: It wouldn’t make you a better player, but may help you get position when boxing out.

Do athletes need to draw a line on substance abuse? Yeah, just like with any substance abuse. I just don’t think we need to get into the substance making them better.

Did coke make it better or worse? David Thompson did coke and it just fucked him up and David Thompson could do anything.

Not just about basketball either ’cause Lyle Alzado was probably shooting horse steroids into his head (sarcasm). I remember they were saying, “Yeah he’s coming back, he’s coming back!” and he came back ripped! Remember?

MT: Yeeeaaaah.

Chuck D: He didn’t make the team. I think he tore a ligament or something. The next thing you know he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated saying not to do steroids and he had shrunken down and shriveled up.

MT: With the bandanna on his head.

Chuck D: Yeah, that’ll keep a person off steroids.

MT: I’ve heard that eventually HGH might help us live longer and I’m speaking with ignorance here. There needs to be a lot more research obviously but if it’s proven over time to hels baseball players heal, then go for it. They play 162 games!

Chuck D: Yeah like you said you have to starting looking at what’s what and stop looking back so much. Mike you know I know more baseball than I need to know. We can’t go back too far because once we start going back past 1946 there’s a bunch of question marks. You let Cap Anson in the Hall of Fame when this cat said Black ballplayers should never be on the field? Do you put an asterisk on the first forty plus years of MLB’s existence?

This is the problem I have with some White folks. How far do you wanna go back? You ask that question of most Blacks and they don’t wanna go back.

How far do you wanna go back? It’s all about convenience. Let bygones be bygones.

Marion Jones….

Part II



25 Responses to “The Chuck D of Public Enemy Interview: Soul and Sports Part 1”

  1. thebrotherreport Says:

    I can never get enough of hearing Chuck speak, the points made about Starbury are dead on, he was one of the few athletes outside of the NFL that spoke openly about Michael Vick.

    “I think it’s tough. I think, you know, we don’t say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dog fighting is a sport. It’s just behind closed doors. I think it’s tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down. I think he’s one of the superb athletes and he’s a good human being. I just think that he fell into a bad situation.”

  2. Always like your Chuck D reads, but wasn’t this scheduled for Christmas?
    Or did you just figure you’d throw it in for MLK week after a certain point?

    I don’t like Clemens, but I disagree with his point on the athletes. Owners have no loyalty to you (at least in football), so I expect the athletes to make their money. I do think that more need to realize that happiness isn’t all about the money though. I think Clemens takes this whole money/team thing way beyond what is cool though.

    I do find it funny that media members will talk about player salaries and team switching all while they’re switching up as well looking for more dough. Most of us all want ‘better’ jobs and more money, why should athletes be different?

  3. Chuck speaks the truth. I’m looking forward to part II tomorrow.

  4. Well said GMP on the whole player and Salary.

    Whats funny is a player holds out for more money. The media and fans look at it as being greedy. But a owner can hold a city hostage for a new arena and no one says anything.

    He11 do you’ll know that the pimp Jerry Jones said to the city of Dallas that if they bought him a 800 million dollar stadium he would move the cowboys from irving to Dallas. The mayor of Dallas said no………and folks in Dallas got upset with the mayor.

    The Pimp Jerry Jones then goes to the Dallas suburb of Arlington and tells them he will move the cowboys there if they bulid him his 800 mill stadium.

    The mayor agrees and they have the citizens vote. The stadium passes with flying colors. So the city of Arlington and the citizens will pay for a billionaires 800 mill dollar stadium for 20 or 30 years.

    But check this out 1 year later the mayor asks the citizens to vote on an increase of taxes for more police officers in Arlington. The citizens vote and the bill is struck down by the people 60% to 40%.

    These fools don’t realize that you need more officers for the 100K plus people who will be going to the games and events held in that 800 Mill stadium.

    I swear people get dumber by the minute. A Pimp holds a whole city and its people hostage over his play toy and no one says a D@MN thing.

  5. Great interview mizzo,

    I loved Chuck D’s insights. Starbury– besides the bad season– is my favorite all time athlete for what he does in the community. I’m glad Chuck D added that insight on how he is protected.

    I learned about the hip-hop industry most from Chuck D. He came down to my school (SUNY at Stony Brook) in the early 1990’s. Not to rap, but to lecture for a couple of hours. Really insightful stuff. Enjoyed his book too. He was talking back about having a hip hop commissioner ala David Stern. I was hoping that it would someday happen, but it is just too complex — like boxing.

    BTW, I’m one of the 9 people who bought Chuck’s solo “Autobiography of Mistachuck” CD. Great effort. COMPLETELY underrated. He even switched it up and threw some funky stuff in there and I thought it worked even though some disagree because they are wrong and I am right!

    — “If I Can’t Change the People Around Me, I Change the People Around Me”

    words to live by…

    …and at the end of the day , you keep coming back to Chuck because he “don’t rhyme for the sake of of riddlin'”

  6. GrandNubian Says:

    Great interview. Very insightful words from Chuck D. Looking forward to the second part of the interview.

  7. Thanks all. I inadvertently cut off the last of part one transferring the interview from word. Chuck elaborates a little more on steroids.

  8. Thanks for forwarding this to us at Mizzo. Mista Chuck is my favourite MC of all time and was actually bangin’ the new PE record on the way to work this morning. Looking forward to part II and we’ll be posting a link to this on our site tomorrow.

  9. origin > I remember when the Hornets left Charlotte for New Orleans. George Shinn and his cronies had been wanting a new arena since they were awarded with the franchise. The Charlotte Coliseum was actually built to attract ACC and NCAA Tournament games, and therefore, didn’t have luxury boxes that would become all the rage a few years after it opened. The people in Charlotte were so fed up with Shinn’s antics. Giving Larry Johnson a huge contract that he didn’t ask for, trading Alonzo Mourning to the Heat, Shinn’s own rape trial… They gave a re-sounding NO vote to a new arena even after Charlotte’s government made sure to bundle it with arts and cultural bonds. The city council and David Stern however, were hellbent on getting a new NBA team to Charlotte. The council found a way to divert funds from some other projects to build the arena. (I’d say roads judging from the conditions of some of them) Only one council member paid for it by losing their job. So, the people of Charlotte now have to pay for an arena that they didn’t want in the first place, whose main tennant is a team that is only getting about 70% of the seats sold.
    I’ve always felt like Chuck D was one of the most underrated MC’s. Partly because of how the record companies and media conspired to try to shut PE out of getting any airplay/attention. Chuck is living proof that rappers don’t have to portray the thugged out role, knowhutimean, son? {= He can actually form a sentence and lay out his argument in a manner that even those that don’t like him have to accept. PE was the first group period to take advantage of the internet in ways that the record companies and msm didn’t see coming. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back will always be one of my favorite albums. It’s a shame that a new generation won’t know the greatness of PE, because msm and record companies don’t want PE’s message getting out, and people like their messages dumbed down. I like it when a girl rocks her hips, etc as much as the next man. But, dag, there’s only so much of that mindless stuff that I can take.

  10. KOS you are SH^TING me George Shinn was on trial for rape???

    Wow I never heard of that!!!!

  11. Mike,

    Thank you for getting this interview and Chuck, thank you for giving Mike this interview. I cannot wait to read part 2 because this interview is what is missing in our field.

    The lessons that you have passed on to us not only in this interview but over the years are very much appreciated. Chuck I learned about our history by listening to Public Enemy. PE is the best history teacher that I have EVER had. Within the same walls of the school in which I learned nothing about who I am and who my people are, I would go and find books about the people mentioned in your songs.

    Thank you.



  12. I second that AG. Good post. PE helped get me through my teenage years.

  13. The chill thing about Chuck is he made sure he got this done with me. We did the first interview last year on the night lil nate blocked Yao.

    Somehow the second part of The Super Hero of Hip Hop Progress Past and Future: Chuck D was lost and a year later, we got it done.

    Chuck definitely looked out.

  14. Yeah Origin it was actually kind of a big deal that whole rape trial.

    my Chi-Sox went through the same thing. Reinsdorf told everyone he was moving the team to Tampa without a new stadium…. in Bridgeport (which for those of you who don’t know internecine Chicago neighborhood descriptions imagine the neighborhood barely still in town and then add infamous gangs and 6 blocks away from a housing project and you have Bridgeport.) Did the take-no-crap Mayor Daley say fine and go to Tampa? Nope. They built a new park and ignored the ever-growing fact that if you drive through certain sections of Chicago you can still see entire blocks whith nothing but boarded-up storefronts.

    So I know the struggle.

  15. Yeap Okori I remember dirty @ss reinsdorf tried to do that with my sox.
    By the way F Daley and his daddy……….I just had to say that I wake up every morning and say F$#% Daley……….it makes my teeth whiter. Screw him and his mobb tied family. Yeah I said it. And if you don’t hear me read up on how his dad Daey Sr. was involved in that 1919 race riots in chicago. Or how he told the cops to shoot little kids if he saw them rioting after the king assasination. Yet that fool was part of one of the biggest irish mobs in his youth.

    Anyway remember those sorry Mckaskey family said they would move the bears to Gary, IN if they didn’t get a new stadium. Then what happens the city goes and remodels soilders field…………yep these owners are on some space age pimping. 8 Ball and MJG would be proud.

  16. I’m coming with the second part people. Having problems with wordpress for some inexplicable reason.

    This was sent to me by T3 who as you all know, is locked out of TSF while at work:

    I just read the interview last night. It was excellent. From a political perspective, PE was the most important hip hop group of all time. They were the best — actually — are the best since no one has claimed that mantle of perpetual motion from them. To hear Chuck swing, sing, reminisce – took me back. I remember being shocked when Lyman Bostock died. I remember Sistah Souljah coming to my school with Professor Griff – the same way MODI remembered Chuck coming to his school.

    His line about the PIVOT FOOT is abso-phukkin’-lutely PRICELESS. A great scholar of religion (whose name escapes me) once said that it was like a curse to walk the world without a sense of anchor. That’s the deal. That pivot foot is one’s anchor – and without it, there is nothing but chaos.

    That’s what the tagline on my blog is actually about.

    ma’at — isfet — ma’at.

    Ma’at is the Ancient Egyptian (or Kemetic) word for order – it also means righteousness, justice and all those things that are predicated on order (not control or martial law) and balance. Ma’at was symbolized by a Goddess with a scale. The scale was used to weigh the HEART of the dead…and on the other side of the scale was a feather. To enter the “Promised Land” you had to have a heart as light as a feather. You could not have a heavy heart burdened by anything…you had to let it go…to surrender. And surrender is the key in Islam…a Muslim is, by definition, one who surrenders to the will of Allah. It all goes back to the same root.

    Isfet is the Kemetic word for chaos. The natural order of the world is neither constant chaos nor constant order. The two principles are as fundamental as earth, wind, fire and water. They’ve been here since the beginning and will be here in the end. It was chaos that created life by disturbing the primeval calm that existed…It was chaos – in the form of “The Word” spoken from the Creator – which spoke itself into Existence. So chaos and order go together. There is nothing that we can do about it.

    Having that Pivot Foot down in the ‘hood is about bringing Ma’at in to the face of Isfet and vice versa. Often times folks in the hood stay grounded and don’t get caught up in the nonsense that folks who’ve made some loot get stuck in. Sometimes finding one’s self is about getting back to the root…getting back to that sense of anchor and ridding your self of all chaos within – the drinking and druggin’, the womanizing, the fruitless expenditure of cash, the whole nine.

  17. Hey Chuck….thanks for communicating and publishing your candid and detailed views on many issues. I am a 50-something white man, and you might be surprised at how many of your views and policy-oriented opinions I agree with. I agree very much with your views on baseball/Clemens, for example. I love sports, but I’ve been turned off by most professional sports, perhaps especially baseball, for the reasons that you described. It’s a real shame, because it’s a great great game. Anyway, it appears they are still making money in huge amounts, which gurantees that nothing will change.

    Now, on to politics. I do not agree with most of Barack Obama’s political positions, but I believe that he is INFINITELY better than Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, and yes, as a president. I really believe that if he were president, he would be a president for ALL the people, while adhering to his policy positions, and doing his best to do things for the poor and disadvantaged in the U.S. On the other hand, I believe that Hillary Clinton is TOTALLY locked in to the left wing power elite, and that she is a committed socialist, and that she cannot break away from that to govern objectively. So, yes, of course, I see the Barack Obama has black skin, and I see that Hillary Clinton is a female, but what is MOST IMPORTANT to me, especially in that these are people who might be elected to the most powerful political position in the world….is what kind of a person they are. The thing that I find absolutely baffling, is that here is Obama, clearly a visionary man of high character, intelligence, and good experience in public office, who has NOT been tainted by the entire Washington experience that poisons a person in many ways (like his opponent has been) and yet so many black Americans prefer Hillary Clinton? I do not get that at all. I do not doubt that there will be more black candidates for president in the future, but I cannot understand why black Americans, especially, cannot see the importance of getting out to vote for Barack Obama, because he is here now, and he is qualified, and he is on the ballot.

  18. Welcome Alex gald you decided to join TSF.

    You make some very valid points.

  19. Richard Leftridge Says:

    My father is the first black american to receive a scholarship to play major college sports in the segregated (Jim Crow) south by attending West Virginia University on a football scholarship in 1962. He also remains the highest NFL draft choice in WVU history as well however he is not in the WVU Hall of Fame. When my fathers short-lived NFL career was over my father and entire family has received a treatment in WV for decades from a strong power structure that can only be described as illegal, racist, horrific and at times terroristic. America ain’t going to believe what all happened to my family in this day and age Chuck. I have sent a synopsis of a book I am trying to write about it all to every major newspaper in WV but of course they are all trying to hide it, and won’t cover my story. Spike Lee, Oprah, and HBO’s Real Sports would love to get this story but I can’t seem to get through to them either. With your permission I would love to send you more info.

  20. […] the Exclusive Interview with Chuck D from our Progressive Sport Blog Affiliates at The Starting Five. The music of Public Enemy is fast […]

  21. The point Chuck makes about Stephon Marbury is a damn good one that needs to be said again and again.

  22. […] I do feel tempted now that Chuck D is on-board. If you wanna know why- please take a few minutes to read Tillery’s Chuck D interview. Its one of the most powerful, intelligent, and necessary interviews I’ve ever […]

  23. […] Rebel Without a Pause. No other song was played the entire night. The violins did it for me. What Chuck D and Co. did for a generation of Cosby kids is unfathomable. Imagine a world without Public Enemy […]

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