7.29.99 Puff Daddy's in the
(from July 1999)
(from Jam! Music
website) by Errol Nazareth
To pay homage to "one of the greatest groups
of all time," black music mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs -- who arrives
in T.O. today for a three-day promotional visit -- has just released PE 2000. It
samples liberally from vanguard rap crew Public Enemy's 1987 single, Public
Enemy No. 1.
Watch for the million-dollar video for the song, featuring PE's Flavor Flav,
when Puffy -- who's also known as Puff Daddy -- takes up residence at MuchMusic
But you don't have to wait until Friday to get a glimpse of the 29-year-old
megastar who heads the Bad Boy rap and R&B label, owns upscale restaurants,
a clothing line, a $2.2-million estate in the Hamptons and publishes a magazine
Puffy is signing autographs at the downtown Yonge Street HMV between 6 and 8
Tomorrow, Master T interviews Puffy at 6:30 p.m. on MuchMusic, and at 9 p.m.,
Puffy co-hosts Electric Circus with Juliette Powell.
Want more Puff?
If you head down to Saturday's Caribana parade, you'll catch Puffy chilling on
top of a float.
I caught up with Puffy at the swanky Royalton Hotel in New York last month and
asked him in a rare one-one-one interview what led to covering Public Enemy's
"It was always one of my favourite records and I've always loved (PE
leader) Chuck D, but beyond that I always wanted to make a record called Public
Enemy 2000," he told me. "I'd talked to Chuck about it before I even
went into the studio and he said, 'I know you'll do it justice and I'll even be
on the remix to let people know that I love what you do.' "
Chuck D and his Confrontation Camp rock outfit guest on the metal remix of PE
2000 and appear in the video for the mix. The song's expected to arrive in
stores next month. A Latin mix of PE 2000 and its own separate video are also
heading our way.
"Any time someone covers your song, it's flattering," Chuck said via
cellphone from the parking lot as he was leaving the Atlanta Braves home game
late Tuesday night. "I was surprised he kept a lot of the original lyrics,
which is good."
As for the rock remix of the song, Chuck, who likes to call Puffy the black
Sinatra, says, "If you're serious as an artist, you've gotta challenge
yourself. By doing (the remix) he's done that and that interests me.
"A lot of hip-hop artists don't challenge themselves," he added.
"Record companies are either dictating what they should do or they're like,
'Be artistic, but you'll be out of a contract.' "
While Puffy has generated a ton of press over the last few years for his
business and marketing acumen - he graced the cover of Forbes, the influential
business magazine, earlier this year and is on the cover of this month's GQ --
he made headlines for the wrong reasons last April for his alleged attack on
record executive Steve Stoute.
Puffy was said to be upset over the video for rapper Nas' single, Hate Me Now,
in which Puffy appeared crucified on a cross. (Stoute is a consultant to Nas).
According to Puffy, Stoute had promised to edit out the scene before submitting
it to MTV, but the video aired with the segment leading to the alleged
altercation in Stoute's mid-Manhattan office.
Puffy, who'd appeared in court for arraignment on assault and criminal charges
the day I interviewed him, spoke frankly about the incident.
"If people perceive me as being ignorant, it's my own fault," Puffy
said. "That's how I acted. I have to be responsible for my own actions.
"But I didn't break anyone's arm or jaw, use a champagne bottle or a chair
or anything like that," he said, referring to accusations that appeared in
Puffy added that Stoute, who he's known for seven years, and he have "made
amends." He apologized publicly to Stoute and there will be no civil suit,
but he still faces criminal charges. He will appear in a Manhattan court Aug. 5.
Puffy's second CD, Forever, which features guests such as R. Kelly, Jay-Z, Faith
Evans, Busta Rhymes, and Lil Kim, arrives in stores Aug. 24.
"I called it Forever 'cause I'll never stop," he said. "I try to
work harder than any human being."
7.28.99 1:00 am pdt Chuck D And Ice Cube In
website) by Karu Daniels
D, born Carl Ridenhour, and hit-making producer Hank Shocklee have been
ordered by a New York Supreme Court judge to pay management/ production company
PPX Enterprises more than $87,120 in royalties and other assessments.
The order stems from an April 1
decision in a contempt-and-sanctions motion filed by PPX against Chuck D and
Shocklee for failure to pay royalties, according to published reports. The
petition notes that PPX, which had a business relationship with Chuck D and
Shocklee involving recordings on the Def Jam label, was due $65,881.30 as its
share of royalties for the period Jan. 1, 1994, through Dec. 31, 1998. In
addition, Chuck D. and Shocklee were ordered to pay more than $20,000 in
attorneys' fees and accounting costs.
Meanwhile, gangsta rap star Ice
Cube, born O'Shea Jackson, reportedly filed a lawsuit last week in Los
Angeles Superior Court against his former business partner, Terry Carter.
In the suit, the rapper is
seeking the dissolution of Cube Carter LLC, a joint venture between Ice Cube and
Carter, on the grounds that "it is not reasonably practicable to carry on
the business of the Company in conformity with the articles of organization or
The suit further asks that if the
court does not rule for dissolution of Cube Carter LLC, Carter not be allowed to
imply that Ice Cube and his Lench Mob Productions remain associated with the
company, or use Ice Cube's name for his personal benefit or the benefit of the
In addition, the suit alleges
that Carter has already used Cube's name for personal benefit and plans to
continue to do so. Aside from unspecified damages based on those allegations,
the lawsuit asks for Carter to pay Ice Cube's legal fees for the case with
Features on Public
Enemy and Ice
Cube are available on LAUNCH.com.
Public Enemy & The Artist scoop Net awards
search engine Yahoo! Held its Internet Life Awards at New York’s legendary
Studio 54 last week, with The Artist, Sly & The Family Stone, Wyclef
Jean and Public
Enemy in attendance. The Artist snagged a gong for Best Internet-Only
Single for War, while Public Enemy accepted the Pioneer Award for the online
release of their album, There’s a Poison Goin’ On, which went on sale over
the net before its ‘terrestrial’ release last week.
While accepting his award, The Artist confirmed his
kooky status by betrayed distinct 2001-like paranoia about new technology. He
said, “It’s cool to get on the computer, but don’t let the computer get on
you.” Er, right.
Public Enemy will be promoting their album and a new
single, Do You Wanna Go Our Way (out September 13), with a mini UK tour.
They’ll be appearing at London’s Notting Hill Carnival on August 30, Kentish
Town Forum on September 3, Manchester Academy on September 4 and Wolverhampton
Civic Hall on September 22.214.171.124 11:00 am edt
Shocklee, Chuck D. Must Pay Royalties
website) -- Irv Lichtman, N.Y.
Producer Hank Shocklee and Chuck D. of Public Enemy have been ordered by a New York Supreme Court judge to pay management/production company PPX Enterprises more than $87,120 in royalties and other assessments. The move stems from an April 1 decision in a contempt and sanctions motion filed by PPX against Shocklee and Chuck D. for failure to pay royalties.
The petition notes that PPX, which had a business relationship with Shocklee and Chuck D. involving recordings on the Def Jam label, was due $65,881.30 as its share of royalties for the period Jan. 1, 1994, through Dec. 31, 1998. In addition, Shocklee and Chuck D. were ordered to pay more than $20,000 in attorneys' fees and accounting costs.
A representative of Shocklee and Chuck D. had no comment.
7.27.99 17:44 bst
Public Enemy Hit Notting Hill On UK Tour
Enemy are to tour the UK - and according to their website they will play
London's Notting Hill Carnival.
The tour is support their album 'There's A Poison' Goin' On', released through
the Internet before it was available in shops last week. The tour will call at
London Kentish Town Forum (September 3), Manchester Academy (4) and
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (5).
On a posting on the Public Enemy website, Chuck
D said the group would be playing the Notting Hill Carnival, an annual event
featuring rap, hip-hop and Caribbean groups that draws more than a million
people into the West London suburb.
The rap group, who have not played in the UK for almost three years, are also to
release a new single 'Do You Wanna Go Our Way' on September 13 through Pias
To Hill And Back: Public Enemy head for Notting Hill
PUBLIC ENEMY will play London's Notting Hill Carnival on August 30, according to a posting from Chuck D on Terrordome, part of the official PE website.
The Notting Hill Carnival - Europe's biggest street party - regularly draws over a million visitors to the W11 area and features hip hop crews and reggae sound systems, as well as the more traditional Caribbean steel bands.
Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood is also booked to play a set at the Carnival, though his live performances are in doubt for the immediate future after he was shot in the arm eight days ago.
On the same Terrordome newsletter - written before the shooting - Chuck D said of Westwood:
"I've known Tim for 13 years. A true hip hop legend in support and broadcast. He's persevered thru all the hatas who've tested his sincerity."
7.22.99 Public Enemy Get
Confrontational At Digital Club Fest: Chuck D, Professor Griff unveil
Confrontation Camp during P.E. show in New York
website) by Adam Falik
For all the buzz about the
promised unveiling of Chuck D's new hardcore rap and rock combo Confrontation
Camp, the small but revved-up crowd assembled in New York's Tramps to catch
Public Enemy's Digital Club Festival performance Wednesday night were there to
revel in Mistachuck's past, not his future. To wit: when Confrontation Camp
stormed the stage mid-way through P.E.'s "Fight the Power" just over
an hour into the set, all but the diehards headed for the door.
Those that left missed some of
the evening's most powerful music, but they certainly didn't leave hungry.
"We're gonna take a trip down rememberin' lane," promised Chuck D
shortly after Public Enemy took the stage, and the posse delivered -- even
without the help of Terminator X, whom Chuck said was held up on personal
matters. In his absence, Chuck, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff rapped fast and
furious over their own album tracks as spun by DJ Johnny Juice. The first song
may have been a little too precise, but for the rest of the evening P.E. powered
through the handicap without fear.
After opening things up with a
storm through "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" from the new There's a
Poision Goin On..., Johnny Juice spun the group and crowd on a re-wind
through P.E. history, sticking to the songs that put them onto the map:
"Public Enemy No.1," "Miuzi Weighs a Ton," "Bring Tha
Noise," "Welcome to the Terrordome." Chuck was strong, his voice
resonating with passion both on his raps and through his equally engaging spoken
rant against the music industry, the detractors who call him racist, the suckas
who mock the digital revolution and the bigger suckas who didn't appreciate,
believe, or understand the "Truth" revealed in The Matrix: take
control of technology lest it control you, and above all, open your eyes. Flav,
meanwhile, pounced gleefully around like Winnie the Pooh's Tigger on
speed, playfully knocking Chuck off his soapbox by leaning on him and saying,
"Chuck we bleeding, and we in the water with muthaf---in' sharks."
Chuck responded by shouting out for "Shut Em' Down."
By the time Confrontation Camp
took the stage, most of the crowd had already heard the hits they came to hear
and began to filter out even as the group -- Chuck, Griff and singer Kyle Jason
fronting a power rock trio -- segued from "Fight the Power" into
"Confrontation." Did the experiment work? Brilliantly. Think Anthrax
joining P.E. for "Bring Tha Noise," propelled by all the rage or Rage,
times ten. Particularly resonant was a searing examination of the gruesome race
murder in Jasper, Texas that began with Griff asking, "Forgive them,
Father, they know not what they do," and climaxed with D and Jason trading
shouts of "My word, what the hell is going on?"
From there on out, it was a long,
slow tumble to 2 a.m., thanks to a fun but aimless solo set by Flav in which he
gave a whack at the drums, sang "What What" and "41:19" from
There's a Poison Goin On..., "911 Is a Joke" and a cut called
"Hot One" from his forthcoming solo album. All told, the party went on
for almost two hours. It started as a rager, got reflective later on and ended,
appropriately, with senseless, stoner goofing. "Okay, I'm going now,"
a drained but somehow still animated Flav told the handful left in the audience
after he finished his solo set. "Wait...anybody want water? Who wants
water?" True to P.E. form, he refused to give it up.
7.22.99 2:43 pm edt
Public Enemy Preach Digital Revolution At Festival Show: Veteran
rappers also introduce two new projects — Confrontation Camp and a solo Flavor
website) Contributing Editor Eric Arnum reports:
NEW YORK — Public Enemy had a lot on the agenda when they took the stage at
Tramps on Wednesday night, the second night of the Digital Club Festival.
Besides introducing Confrontation Camp, frontman Chuck D's new rock band, and
previewing sidekick Flavor Flav's upcoming solo debut via a short solo set that
mostly featured Flavor Flav's renditions of Public Enemy tunes, Chuck D had a
digital revolution to preach about.
"I predict that in three years, there will be a million artists and 5,000
labels," Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) said during one long
"sermon" from the stage. Downloadable music, recordable CDs and
convenient formats such as Zip disks are going to make it easy for artists to
distribute their work, he said. "So start your own label on the World Wide
Web and create your own template for the future."
Getting a jump on that future, Public Enemy, who first made a name for
themselves as political firebrands and sonic adventurers in the late 1980s,
released an album, There's a Poison Goin' On, two months ago on the
Internet, where it was exclusively available for sale as a downloadable MP3
file. On Tuesday, the album was released in stores — on CD, cassette, vinyl
and Iomega Zip disks.
For the present, though, the template seemed to have some bugs to work out.
Though the show was considered one of the hottest attractions of the four-day
live-music and webcast festival, which has brought several hundred bands to the
city, Tramps was only about half full.
The stage, by contrast, was crowded. As they played a set that was loaded with
PE hits but barely touched on the new album, Chuck D, Flavor Flav (born William
Drayton) and outspoken sideman Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) prowled
and jumped around the stage. Sometimes they kickboxed the air, and at least once
or twice they bumped into each other. "You broke my motherf---ing
tooth," Chuck D screamed at Flavor Flav after one such collision.
"I was a little disappointed," said Manhattan resident Dennis Crowley,
23, who was seeing Public Enemy for the first time. "I was a big fan all
through high school. But I figured they'd throw off more energy live, and I
figured there would be more people here."
The trio of Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff jumped onstage at 11:30
p.m. while DJ Johnny Juice — taking the place of Terminator X, who Chuck D
said was in North Carolina — played the sinister samples from "Dark Side
of the Wall: 2000," the leadoff track from There's a Poison Goin' On.
"Time is running out," the sampled voice said before Flavor Flav and
Chuck D launched into "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" (RealAudio
excerpt), the second track on the new CD.
Anyone looking forward to hearing more from the new release, however, had to
wait till nearly the end of the two-hour show, when Flavor Flav did "What
What" during his short solo set. In between, Public Enemy played hits
punctuated by Chuck D's advice and philosophy.
At stage left and stage right, two members of Security of the First World (S1W)
stood guard in their curious armor, a cross between Black Panther garb and
Batman's superhero getup. Mostly they stood at attention, but every once in a
while they'd throw in a quick dance move or two.
Chuck D brought a local radio DJ onstage, introducing Chuck Chillout as the guy
who first played "Rebel Without a Pause" on the air in 1987. But
instead of breaking into that song, PE launched into "Miuzi Weighs a
Ton" — from their 1987 debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show — then
into "Bring the Noise."
Digital Club Festival pass-holders were told by organizers there would be a
quota system at the door for this show and gigs by a few other national acts,
such as Bush and Everlast. But the queue length for admission never exceeded a
At one point, Chuck D and Professor Griff got the "and you are?"
treatment from the woman with the guest-list clipboard, while Al Teller,
president of the band's Internet label, Atomic Pop, was getting the once-over
from the man handling the clubfest pass-holder's line.
Teller, a former president of CBS Records, said the label released There's a
Poison Goin' On on Zip disc "as an example of how computer technology
can open up opportunities for artists." A Zip disk can hold 100 megabytes
of data, which in MP3 terms, can equal more than an hour and a half of music.
However, Iomega decided to work with another format, so the Zip disks of There's
a Poison Goin' On are in Liquid Audio.
Chuck D had plenty to say about digital music, too, virtually stopping the show
after "Can't Truss It" to tell the audience about the digital
revolution he anticipates.
"If you don't own the master then the master owns you," he said,
quoting from the lyrics of the recent PE single, "Swindler's Lust."
But instead of launching into that tune, he continued rapping for another five
minutes about the dawning of the revolution. The performance seemed to suck the
energy out of what had been an exciting show, dampening the reception for
"Shut 'Em Down" (RealAudio
excerpt) and "Fight the Power," which turned out to be the PE
Without a word of explanation, the two S1W members about-faced and walked off,
as did Flavor Flav. Then rapper Kyle Jason walked onstage with two guitarists
and a drummer in combat fatigues. Chuck D announced that this was Confrontation
Camp. They did four songs and then all but Chuck D walked off.
He said Confrontation Camp's debut album will be called Objects in the Mirror
Are Closer Than They Appear, and will use a fisheye photo of the federal
building in Oklahoma City as its cover art.
Then he mentioned Flavor Flav's upcoming solo album, It's About Time.
Flavor Flav walked back out, announced he wanted to do a drum solo, and Chuck D
walked off while his sidekick rapped a few PE tunes — including "911 Is a
Joke" and "What What" — along with some of his new material.
For Emily Lawrence of Manhattan, Flavor Flav's miniset was one of the highlights
of the show. "His version of '911 Is a Joke' was great, kinda in that
mellow style of his," she said. And though she didn't know "What
What" was a new PE tune, she said she liked that one, too. "But we
were really psyched by all the old-school songs," she said.
7.21.99 Public Enemy’s Poison
(from BBC website)
Public Enemy have released their latest album on their Internet label, Atomic Pop. It's called 'There's a Poison Goin’ On' and far from being concerned, frontman Chuck D says he's waiting for the rest of the record industry to play catch up: "This will be the third means of distribution. Traditionally, people have to wait for the majors or the independents to actually distribute art from the artist to the public. This third means of digital distribution serves as a competitive force", he says.
7.20.99 Chuck D Blasts Anti-Defamation League, Denies Anti-Semitism
(from Blaze.com website)
In the ongoing saga between Chuck D and the anti-Defamation League, the pioneering MC put all his cards on the table in an interview with nme.com Responding to the recent accusations of anti-Semitism, Chuck had this to say, "In Schindler's List, Spielberg was talking about the pain of what he visualized in his people, and I'd just say for me as a black artist in the music industry, the pain I visualized was "Swindler's Lust." The swindle of the music industry has really been one-sided when it comes to black artists, especially in hip hop." Addressing the ADL specifically, he went on to explain, "People have taken it as an attack on Schindler's List, like it's me saying Jewish people run the music industry, which I think is stupid and I wouldn't say it. But I would say that everybody had their piece of taking the soul out of black folks and turning us into jokes, even black people themselves. Anybody can be a swindler. People might say, 'How could Chuck D play around with Spielberg's creation?' But I'm like, 'Why the fuck not? He's not God!'" In the interview, he also denies playing on the much-talked about tensions between the African-American and Jewish communities, saying, "There's not really tension. Because New York's the media capital it becomes a bigger issue. The majority of black folk in the United States pay Jewish people no mind. They still can't find the difference between Jewish people and white people."
7.20.99 14:00 est
Public Enemy, Prince Take Spotlight At Yahoo Online Music Awards
One year ago, the Yahoo Internet Life Magazine
Online Music Awards' maiden voyage was a low-key affair light on big names and
free of live music.
What a difference a year makes.
Monday night's second annual Yahoo Internet Life Magazine Online Music Awards
saw wins for the Beastie Boys and Sarah McLachlan as well as memorable
performances from Seal, Public Enemy, Prince, and Wyclef Jean.
While the Beasties' official site (run by webmaster Ian Rogers) won for Best
Artist Site and McLachlan's "Mirrorball" took home honors for Best
Internet Only Album, Prince and PE spent the most time in the spotlight Monday
evening. Both artists presented awards, picked up awards, and performed,
cementing their places at the forefront of music's online wave.
While picking up this year's Online Pioneer award, PE's Chuck D heralded the
freedom that digital distribution offers artists, and urged, "Come one,
come all to the download ball."
While picking up his award for Best Internet Only Single for "War,"
Prince was equally enthusiastic about what the Internet means for artists.
However, he warned those gathered at New York's Studio 54, "It's cool to be
on the computer, but don't let the computer be on you."
Prince later returned to the stage, joined by Sly and the Family Stone bassist
Larry Graham and legendary R&B saxophonist Maceo Parker for a three-song set
concluding with the classic "Everyday People."
Faced with the unenviable task of following such a performance, Wyclef and his
Refugee Allstars took the stage to close the show and delivered a one-hour set
that pushed the party well past midnight.
The evening also saw SonicNet honored as Best Overall Site, Virgin Records named
Best Label Site, the Ultimate Band List chosen as Best Reference Site, and we at
MTV.com named Best News Site.
7.20.99 Chuck D - "I Could Say I'm Jewish Tomorrow - Who's To Say I'm
CHUCK D has hit back at accusations of
anti-Semitism in the track 'Swindler's Lust'. In an interview in the latest NME
with Stephen Dalton, Chuck D dismissed accusations levelled at him recently by
the Anti Defamation League.
"In Schindler's List, Spielberg was talking
about the pain of what he visualised in his people, and I'd just say for me as a
black artist in the music industry, the pain I visualised was 'Swindler's
Lust'," he said. "The swindle of the music industry has really been
one-sided when it comes to black artists, especially in hip-hop. People have
taken it as an attack on Schindler's List, like it's me saying Jewish people run
the music industry, which I think is stupid and I wouldn't say it. But I would
say that everybody had their piece of taking the soul out of black folks and
turning us into jokes, even black people themselves. Anybody can be a swindler.
People might say, 'How could Chuck D play around with Spielberg's creation?' But
I'm like, 'Why the fuck not? He's not God!'"
Aren't you simply stoking up traditional tensions
that exist between African Americans and Jewish Americans?
"There's not really tension. I think that
comes out of newspapers and hype coming out of New York, where the communities
have overspilled into each other with city problems. Because New York's the
media capital it becomes a bigger issue. The majority of black folk in the
United States pay Jewish people no mind, they still can't find the difference
between Jewish people and white people."
Lay it on the line, Chuck, do you have a problem
with Jewish people?
"Not at all, I judge people as individuals.
If a person I don't like happens to be Jewish, I just don't like that person.
Your religion don't mean shit - if you're fucked up, you're fucked up. Do I have
problems with black folk as individuals? Yeah, a few of them. But it's a waste
of time to dislike group philosophies other than saying that I'm tired of people
being programmed, and that's what this whole album's about. Fuck it, I could say
I'm Jewish tomorrow - who's to say I'm not? I really don't get into classifying
people other than saying that, as a black person, I'm classified."
7.20.99 4:00 pm edt Chuck D Invites All To 'Download Ball'
website) by Julie Taraska
"Come one, come all, to the
download ball," encouraged Chuck D during his speech today at the 4th
annual Plug.In, a music and technology conference that wraps this evening in New
York. The Public Enemy front man entertained and informed the crowd with his
case for digital distribution of music over the Web -- or, as he called it,
"How the pimps get f***ed by the 'ho revolt."
Recounting how Web technology
made it possible for his band to extricate itself from a financially and
artistically unsatisfactory contract with PolyGram, Chuck D likened himself to a
freed slave. "I feel like a black man in 1866," he said with a laugh.
The Internet and MP3 will change
the face of the music industry, he continued, because they are the first time
the public has beaten record companies to a format technology. Formerly, labels
owned both the means to play the music (the hardware) and the music itself (the
software); now, people can circumvent the imprints -- and their stranglehold --
The result, he concluded, will be
that labels will be forced to share profits; hopefully, they will do so by
increasing artists' royalty rates, reducing CD prices, and relinquishing some of
their other means of control.
As for the efforts of the
Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), a music-industry organization fighting
piracy on the Web, Chuck D remains dubious. "There's 30 seconds left and
you're five touchdowns down -- that's SDMI," he said.
7.15.99 3:04 am edt
Chuck D Demands Apology For Charges Of Anti-Semitism: Anti-Defamation
League leader stands by assertion, says Public Enemy frontman is out of order.
website) Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports:
Outspoken Public Enemy leader Chuck D is demanding
an apology from the Anti-Defamation League, which last month accused the
pioneering hip-hop group of anti-Semitism in the song "Swindlers Lust"
"I want an apology now," the 38-year-old rapper said Wednesday from
Germany, where he is promoting Public Enemy's latest album, There's a Poison
Goin' On, which contains the offending song.
"For me not to speak out on the one-sided persecution by the music
industry, not to use this platform ... that's bullsh--."
A spare song that was initially released on the Internet in January,
"Swindlers Lust" blasts unnamed music-industry executives for what
Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) sees as 50 years of unfair compensation for
ADL national director Abraham Foxman criticized the group in a June 17 letter to
Al Teller, head of the Atomic Pop music label, which released the album. He said
the song — whose title plays on that of the Academy Award–winning Steven
Spielberg movie "Schindler's List," about the systematic annihilation
of Jews during World War II — contains anti-Semitic overtones. Those
overtones, Foxman added, take a backdoor approach to blaming Jews for the plight
of poor blacks.
Speaking from Jerusalem on Wednesday, Foxman said it was out of order for Public
Enemy to call for the leading Jewish advocacy group to atone.
"I don't think there's anything to apologize for," said Foxman, who
was in Israel to meet with leaders in the administration of newly elected prime
minister Ehud Barak. "Unfortunately [Chuck D] comes with some baggage. ...
It's not that we come out of the blue or that he is a total innocent in this
Foxman was referring to a 1989 incident in which peripheral Public Enemy member
Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) told the Washington Times that he held
Jews responsible for the "majority of the wickedness that goes on across
Griff was dismissed from the politically charged group shortly after, but
returned to the fold with last year's He Got Game album. He appears briefly on
There's a Poison Goin' On.
"Swindlers Lust" contains lines such as "Mo dollars, mo cents for
the Big Six/ Another million led to bled claiming their innocence." Chuck D
has said the "Big Six" refers to the six major music corporations —
Sony, Time Warner, EMI, BMG, Universal and PolyGram (now known as the Big Five
after last year's merger of Universal and PolyGram) — and Atomic Pop Vice
President Liz Morentin explained that the "million" lyric was a nod to
the Million Man March of 1995.
But Foxman alleged the proximity of the numbers "six" and
"million" was a veiled reference to the 6 million Jews killed in the
Holocaust, and added that lines such as "Dem own the banks" referred
to a conspiracy theory that Jewish people control the financial industry. That
the track appropriates the title of the celebrated Holocaust book and film
"Schindler's List" adds insult to injury, he said.
Chuck D countered that people comb through Public Enemy's confrontational lyrics
looking for insults.
"There's paranoia for me to speak out on anything," he said. "I
think I was clever in putting my words together. To blame me for that is bullsh--.
I'm not responsible for sh--."
The Anti-Defamation League has no further action planned concerning the song.
Foxman said he never received a response from Teller, although Morentin did fax
the group a letter supporting artistic expression and containing the lyrics to
"If he didn't intend it to be anti-Semitic, fine," Foxman said.
"I welcome that. But in light of where he's coming from, or where he came
from before, this is not a time that I should apologize to him."
Anti-Defamation League Blows Off Chuck D's Demand For Apology
D is not happy. The legendary MC is demanding an apology from the
Anti-Defamation League for accusing Public Enemy of anti-Semitism. As we last
reported, the ADL fired off a letter to PE's label, Atomic Pop, charging that
the lyrics in "Swindler's Lust" were a thinly-veiled attempt to blame
Jews for the plight of African-Americans. However, ADL's national director,
Abraham Foxman, doesn't feel an apology is necessary. In an interview with SonicNet,
he said, "I don't think there's anything to apologize for. Unfortunately,
[Chuck D] comes with some baggage. It's not that we come out of the blue or that
he is a total innocent in this area." Foxman is, of course, referring to
the incident back in '89 when Professor Griff told the Washington Post
that Jews were responsible for most of the evil in the world. He was bounced
from Public Enemy shortly after. Chuck D responded to the ADL's accusations by
saying, "There's paranoia for me to speak out on anything. I think I was
clever in putting my words together. To blame me for that is bullshit. I'm not
responsible for shit." Why do we get the feeling that Chuck's gonna be a
pretty old man before he gets that apology? Stay tuned for more on this story.
7.9.99 3:03 am edt
Public Enemy's Flavor Flav Raps About First Solo Album: Hyperbolic hip-hop star
says It's About Time is an opportunity from God.
website) staff writer Chris Nelson reports:
Flavor Flav, hip-hop's original court jester, says
there's a gap in rap.
As he sees it, the lopsided emphasis on gangster life and material goods has
burdened the genre in recent years. But he promises that It's About Time,
his debut solo album due this fall, will redress the situation.
"What I'm trying to do is put back into rap music what's missing — which
is the good part, the fun part, that party part," said Flavor Flav, who in
Public Enemy plays comic counterpoint to politicized MC Chuck D.
"I remember rap music," Flavor Flav continued. "We used to party
and dance off of it. Today it's all about a whole different angle. ... Rappers
are going against each other, and it's more of a bragging, boasting thing."
The 40-year-old Flavor Flav (born William Drayton) will release It's About
Time Sept. 7, a dozen years after Public Enemy began their groundbreaking
career with Yo! Bum Rush the Show.
From his home in New York, Flavor Flav took time out from watching several
of his half-dozen children last week to talk about the new disc and Public
Enemy's recently released There's a Poison Goin' On, as well as his legal
run-ins from the early '90s and his relationship with God.
Where other rappers pepper their sentences with the rhetorical "Y'know what
I'm sayin'," Flavor Flav punctuates his thoughts with a fervent "Y'all
need to know that," as if he were preaching to a congregation. He proudly
runs down the names, spellings and ages of all his kids — Shanique, 13;
William Jr., 12; Karren, 11; Da'Zyna, 7; Quanah, 5; Kayla, 3.
As one might expect from the MC who gave us such spontaneous phrases as
"quick-fast-in-a-hurry," Flavor Flav often breaks into seemingly
improvised lyrics, stuffing rhymes into the corners of his conversations.
In Flavor Flav's eyes, his first solo disc is an opportunity from on high, and
one that he has no intention of squandering selfishly. Sharing the fruits of
labor, he said, yields spiritual rewards.
"I'm gonna take this chance like a football, and I gonna run a touchdown
with it," he said (RealAudio
excerpt of interview). "Then I'm gonna take my [touchdown] points
and spread my points to everybody. ... As I share my points that makes me get
more, more, more points. ... God says you can't keep it unless you give some of
In addition to a cover of pop-jazz band Chicago's 1970 hit "Does Anybody
Really Know What Time It Is?," It's About Time will include songs
about Flavor Flav's kids ("Flav News") and relations between the sexes
("No Loot"), as well as a track he debuted live on last year's Smokin'
Grooves tour — "The Hot One."
"I dedicated that to all my people that's locked down," he said.
"I know what they're feeling. Why? Because I was locked down one time. And
also to all my people that's in the ground — sleep safe and sound."
Despite the album's emphasis on party jams, the rapper won't abandon the social
side he first displayed on Public Enemy's 1990 single "911 Is a Joke"
excerpt). "He does want to do at least one socially conscious song
on the album," Flavor Flav's business manager, Clifton Johnson, said.
While Chuck D has always led Public Enemy's political charge, the Flavor Flav
track "41:19" (RealAudio
excerpt) is one of the most pointed social criticisms on There's a
Poison Goin' On. The cut blasts police search-and-seizure tactics and the
use of force in the New York case of Amadou Diallo. Diallo, a West African
emigrant, earlier this year was killed by four white police officers who fired
41 shots at him — 19 of which hit him — as he stood in the doorway of his
"I'm thinking, the guys that did the shooting, what would they do if they
ended up in jail amongst a lot of the people that they locked up," Flavor
Flav said (RealAudio
excerpt of interview). "It's not like I'm cracking down on the
police department, saying the police department is bad. ... You do got some good
police in the department that is true and fair to the game. But you got some
that are on some power trip, and those are the ones that need to take the dip.
Those are the ones that make it bad for the good ones."
During the early 1990s, Flavor Flav dealt with police himself on several
occasions. He was arrested for assault and nonpayment of child support and was
charged with attempted murder for a domestic dispute that involved gunfire. The
charge was dropped after the rapper agreed to get treatment for a drug habit.
"My past charges, past relationships with my children's mothers, drug
charges — all of that stuff — that's one thing that I like to put behind me,
because it couldn't do me good today," he said. "The only thing that
would do me good about it today is when I go and share my experiences with
Since those incidents, Flavor Flav has spoken to several groups of young people
in detention centers, group homes and schools, Johnson said. In coming weeks, he
will speak to a youth group again in Long Island, N.Y.
"The things that I went through are the things that I don't want them to
have to go through," Flavor Flav said (RealAudio
excerpt of interview). "I got a way to get through to kids. I try
to take that and use that to my advantage. If we work on the kids right now, I'm
telling you, they'll be making less mistakes, the jails will be gettin' less
full. It's all about what we do with the kids."
7.8.99 8:15 est Puffy, Chuck D Brave Heat To Shoot "P.E. 2000" Rock-Remix Clip
(from MTV website)
Not even a blistering heat wave could stop Sean "Puffy" Combs on Tuesday as he, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and a host of extras took the stage in New York to shoot a video for the rock remix of "P.E. 2000," the first single off Puff Daddy's upcoming album, "Forever."
The mega-mogul rapper plans to release three versions of the song (with three corresponding videos): a hip-hop version, a Latin version in which Puffy raps entirely in Spanish, and the rock version featuring Chuck D.
According to Puffy, he did the rock remix of the new single to show fans there's more to him than hip-hop.
"I love hip-hop first and foremost, but I love music as a whole," Combs told MTV News. "I love just being able to express myself. A lot of times, people like try to pigeonhole you. You know, 'He's commercial...' or 'He's [a] gangster rapper...' 'He's hip-hop this.' I'm me. My music is a reflection of my lifestyle, and I have so much diversity in my lifestyle, and I try to express that in my music."
As we previously reported, "P.E. 2000" is a cover of Public Enemy's "Public Enemy No. 1" (see "Reports Of Settlement Loom As Puffy Reworks Public Enemy For New Video").
"Forever" is due out on August 24.
7.7.99 12:30 est Public Enemy, Live, Everlast Download For Digital Club Festival
(from MTV website)
Public Enemy, Everlast, and Live have become the latest bands to sign on for this year's Digital Club Festival, slated for July 20-23 at various clubs and venues across New York City.
A rare club appearance by Public Enemy, which has become one of the biggest proponents of online music distribution, grew out of plans for a concert by Confrontation Camp, the PE side project featuring Chuck D and Professor Griff (see "Chuck D On Possible Public Enemy-Confrontation Camp Tour").
PE also made its newest album, "There's a Poison Goin On," available via digital download several months before the record was slated for release in retail stores.
For Everlast and Live, the gigs at the DigiFest will serve as a warm-up of sorts for their respective appearances at the Woodstock '99 Music Festival being held the same weekend in Rome, New York.
For the event, Live is scheduled to play Tramps on July 20, with Public Enemy taking the same stage the following evening. Everlast will play across town at the Bowery Ballroom on July 22. However, admission to the Public Enemy and Everlast shows will only be made available to those who hold four-day passes to the event.
Other notable acts slated to take part in the DigiFest include the Apples in Stereo, Bush, DJ Rap, the Donnas, Guided By Voices, Looper, Kottonmouth Kings, Manic Street Preachers, Mark Eitzel, Melky Sedeck, Prince Paul, Rahzel, Remy Zero, Scanner, the Smithereens, Spain, and the X-ecutioners.
Users can find more information and an updated lineup of all the groups playing at this year's Digital Club Festival by visiting
7.8.99 Puffy Teams with Chuck D
(from Vibe website)
This one should surprise a lot of people. Public Enemy frontman Chuck D and Bad Boy CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs have hooked up for a rock remix of Puffy's "P.E. 2000," the first single from the rap mogul's forthcoming album, Forever. Despite temperatures reaching the 100's during a heat wave last Tuesday in New York, Chuck and Puff still managed to shoot the video for the rock version of "P.E. 2000." Puffy plans to release three versions of the single and three accompanying videos‹the original hip hop version (which samples Public Enemy's "Public Enemy #1"), a Spanish version and the rock remix. "I love hip hop first and foremost, but I love music as a whole," Puffy told MTV News. "I love just being able to express myself. A lot of times people like try to pigeonhole you. You know, 'He's commercial,' or 'He's [a] gangster rapper,' 'He's hip hop this.' I'm me. My music is a reflection of my lifestyle, and I have so much diversity in my lifestyle, and I try to express that in my music."
7.8.99 Public Enemy, Rahzel and Others Join Digital Fest
(from Vibe website)
Public Enemy, Rhazel (of The Roots fame), Melky Sedeck, Prince Paul and the X-ecutioners are some of the artists that will take part in this year's Digital Club Festival, scheduled for July 20-23 in various venues in New York City. Public Enemy, most notably it's leader Chuck D, have become strong proponents of online music and recently made their latest album, There's A Poison Goin' On, available via digital download months before it's slated to hit stores. For a complete list of artists playing the Digital Club Festival, log on to
7.8.99 Puff Daddy and Chuck D Shoot "P.E. 2000" Video
(from Blaze website)
Public Enemy's Chuck D teamed up with Puff Daddy in New York on Tuesday to shoot the video for the rock remix of "P.E. 2000," the first single from his upcoming album, Forever. As we last reported, Puff came up with three different versions of the single. There's the one currently receiving radio play, the rock remix with Chuck, and another one on which he raps entirely in Spanish, and he plans to have a corresponding video for each. In an interview with MTV, Puff said he did the rock thing to show his fans how versatile he is. "I love hip hop first and foremost, but I love music as a whole. A lot of times people like try to pigeonhole you. I'm me. My music is a reflection of my lifestyle, and I have so much diversity in my lifestyle, and I try to express that in my music."
7.7.99 11:39 pm edt New Fest To Put Public Enemy, Bush, More In Clubs, Online
(from SonicNet website)
contributing editor Brian Hiatt reports
Digital Club Festival also to feature Live, Everlast, Guided by Voices in show of webcasting technology.
When Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav gives one of his first-ever solo performances and the hip-hop group's frontman, Chuck D, debuts his new rock project during a joint show this month in New York, Internet users the world over will be able to tune in.
And if the founders of the Digital Club Festival — which will bring those acts and dozens of others to clubs throughout New York over four days — have their way, such live webcasts will soon be the rule, not the exception.
Andrew Rasiej and Michael Dorf, who founded the 5-year-old festival, formerly known as the New York Intel Music Festival, said they plan to use this year's event to launch the Digital Club Network, which Rasiej described as a "permanent, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week [web]site of connected clubs from around the world."
"Very often, people think of live music as a promotional tool for studio recordings, [but] we believe that live music is a massively valuable content source in itself," Rasiej said. He said he and Dorf hope to build a large archive of live performances as part of a future in which major artists will make most of their concerts available on the Web for a fee.
Among the acts booked for the Digital Club Festival, to be held July 20-23, are rockers Bush, Guided by Voices, Live, Apples in Stereo and Joey Ramone and hip-hop artists Everlast, Prince Paul and Rahzel (of the Roots), according to organizers.
Rasiej said the event will serve as a demonstration of the ease with which current technology allows streaming webcasts to take place. Although as recently as last year the festival's webcasts were supervised from a centralized control room known as "command central," such a site is now unnecessary, he said. This year, each show will be webcast directly from the club in which it is held.
One of the likely highlights will be a July 21 performance by veteran rappers Public Enemy that will include minisets by Confrontation Camp — featuring PE leader Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) and sideman Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) — and Flavor Flav (born William Drayton). The latter will perform songs from his solo debut, It's About Time, which is scheduled for release Sept. 7.
"Me and Griff like to work together a lot, so we came up with Confrontation Camp," Chuck D said recently. "We bring three attacking vocals — singing vocals, rap and poetry. We would like to think there's nothing out there that can compete with this vocal application over driving tracks." The band also includes singer Kyle Jason and a band of rock musicians.
Public Enemy have been outspoken proponents of music on the Internet. They recently released an album, There's a Poison Goin' On, through the Internet label Atomic Pop (www.atomicpop.com), which made it available for purchase as either downloadable files or as a traditional CD. It includes "Swindler's Lust" (RealAudio excerpt) and "World Tour Sessions," which features Confrontation Camp singer Jason.
As in previous years, former Ramones singer Joey Ramone will host what he calls a "cyberbash" as part of the festival. The lineup of that show so far includes the Ramones-affiliated bands the Prissteens, the Independents, Blackfire and Los Gusanos.
Ramone's 1998 bash featured a surprise appearance by reunited new-wavers Blondie, and this year's concert may have a comparable surprise, festival booker Chris Newmyer said.
Also on tap for the Digital Club Festival are rock bands Imperial Teen and the Smithereens, singer/songwriter Mary Lou Lord, former American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel and ex-Pixies leader Frank Black, among others.
7.7.99 4:29 pm edt Everlast, Public Enemy, Live Join Fest
(from SonicNet website)
Hip-hop artists Everlast and Public Enemy and rockers Live have been added to the Digital Club Fest, a four-day live music and webcast event to be held July 20-23 in New York, according to organizers. Public Enemy's performance will be a revue, featuring minisets by rapper Flavor Flav and frontman Chuck D's rock side project Confrontation Camp. The event, formerly known as the Intel Fest, also will include rockers Apples in Stereo, Guided by Voices, Joey Ramone and the Manic Street Preachers, as well as hip-hop artists Rahzel (of the Roots) and Prince Paul.
7.5.99 Chuck Stands Accused
(from NME website)
CHUCK D has not responded to allegations of anti-Semitism
leveled against Public Enemy by the Anti Defamation League - a militant Jewish
organization that combats anti-Semitism in the US - over the track 'Swindler's Lust' according to Spin.com, the website of the US music monthly.
The ADL's National Director Abraham H Foxman sent a letter to the CEO of Atomic Pop, PE's internet distributors and US label, accusing Chuck D of blaming all the poverty of African Americans on the Jews.
"Given Public Enemy's history of derogatory remarks about Jews, we are concerned that some impressionable young listeners will hear that message."
This refers to the early '90s controversy sparked off by PE Minister Of Information Professor Griff's anti-Semitic comments that resulted in him leaving the group.
Meanwhile, Chuck D's sidekick Flavor Flav's solo album 'It's About Time' is slated for release in
7.2.99 Its About Time Flav Does His Thing
(from Blaze online)
Flavor Flav, the court jester of Public Enemy, is set to drop his own album, It's About Time, on September 7th. This debut project, which will be released off of Mystic Music Entertainment, is about half-way done, and supposedly will feature a gang of well-known artists, though none have been confirmed. If you're expecting the serious social commentary that PE is known for, forget it. According to his manager, Time is going to be a full-length version of what Flav does best: entertain. And in true PE fashion, the first single, "Hot One," will be downloadable on his soon-to-be-launched website, flavorflav.com. Another song, "Flav 2K," will also be available, but only on the site.
12:13 am edt Public Enemy's Flavor Flav Records First Solo Disc
SonicNet website) Staff Writer Chris
About Time, due in September, to include cover of Chicago's "Does Anybody
Really Know What Time It Is?"
Flavor Flav, the comedic sidekick to Chuck D in the political hip-hop band Public
Enemy, will release his first solo album, It's About Time, Sept. 7, his
business manager said Thursday (July 1).
more into being the jokester on this album," Clifton Johnson said. "[The
songs are] not going to be as serious as if they were on a PE album."
if to underscore that point, Johnson said the 40-year-old rapper — rarely
seen without one of his trademark giant clock necklaces — will record a
cover of "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," the 1970 top-10 hit
for brass and rock band Chicago, who will appear on the new track.
D (born Carlton Ridenhour) and Flavor Flav (born William Drayton) formed
the groundbreaking, politically charged Public Enemy in Long Island, N.Y.,
in 1982. Flavor Flav immediately established himself as the rubber mallet
to Chuck D's sledgehammer, in the words of Chuck D's manager, Walter Leaphart.
solidified his role as the band's trickster foil with It Takes a Nation
of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988). Songs such as "Flavor Flav Cold Lampin'
" introduced Dr. Seuss-worthy phrases such as "brainknowledgeably wizzy."
In 1990 Fear of a Black Planet unveiled his socially conscious side with
"911 Is a Joke," a rap about poor emergency medical care in the black community.
half of It's About Time — which will be released by New York label Mystic
Music Entertainment — already has been recorded, Johnson said. The second
half will be completed with familiar collaborators from the hip-hop world,
though those artists have yet to be confirmed, he said.
One," It's About Time's first single, will be released to radio later this
month. It also will be featured as a free, downloadable track on Flavor
Flav's new website (www.flavorflav.com), which is scheduled to launch in
the second half of July. In addition to that track, the site also will
feature a song available only on the Internet that is tentatively titled
"Flav 2K," Johnson said.
are some different feels to the album," he said. "One track, 'No Loot,'
is laid-back R&B. It's about not being able to hang with this one woman
because he doesn't have enough money. 'Original Flavor Flav' is on that
funky funk side."
the past two years, Flavor Flav has maintained a prominent role in Public
Enemy. His police-brutality rap "41:19" (RealAudio excerpt) contains some
of the most pointed social criticism on the band's latest album, There's
a Poison Goin' On. He lightens things considerably with party boasting
on "What What" from the same album and "Shake Your Booty" from last year's
He Got Game soundtrack.
for a while, some fans wondered whether the MC might drop out of the Public
Enemy fold altogether.
the early 1990s, Flavor Flav racked up arrests for assault and nonpayment
of child support, and he was charged with attempted murder for a domestic
dispute that involved gunfire. That charge was dropped after he agreed
to get treatment for a drug habit. The rapper has since said he's formed
a relationship with God.
D recently quashed the notion of a Flavor-less Public Enemy.
Enemy is me and Flavor, vocally," Chuck D said (RealAudio excerpt of interview).
"That has to go as the first and foremost rule. If he feels like it might
be too much of this or too much of that, vocally, then he's not gonna want
to participate. And then I say, 'Is it this or Flavor?' Without Flavor
there's a big chance there could not be Public Enemy."
Chuck D released the solo Autobiography of Mistachuck in 1996, Flavor Flav
rarely has appeared on cuts outside of Public Enemy. Over the years, however,
he has recorded some unissued solo tracks for Public Enemy's former label,
Def Jam. Johnson said those tracks could turn up on future Flavor Flav
also recently recorded a track called "From New York to Germany" with German
rappers Afrob, Rene and DJ Tomekk. That cut will appear on a German compilation
called Rhymes Galore, Johnson said. Back
to Dean's Tribute to Public Enemy (Main)
7.2.99 P.E. P.O.'s A.D.L.
(from Spin website)
"Swindler's Lust," a track off Public Enemy's latest disc, There's A Poison Going On, has been condemned by The Anti-Defamation League for it's alleged "anti-Semitic overtones and veiled references to the Holocaust," according to Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's National Director. In a letter to Al Teller, CEO of P.E.'s current label Atomic Pop, Foxman attempted to revive the 1991 scandal involving Anti-semitic comments made by P.E.'s self proclaimed 'Minister of Information' Professor Griff: "The lyrics contain classic anti-Semitic code words and seem to blame Jews for the plight of financially underprivileged Blacks. Given Public Enemy's history of derogatory remarks about Jews, we are concerned that some of (their) impressionable young listeners will hear that message." P.E. have not released an official rebuttal at press time. We'll continue to keep you posted.