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Recent Headlines
(from September 1999)

9.30.99  Public Enemy Leader Launches
(from WebNoize website)

Prominent music industry critic Chuck D, leader of rap group Public Enemy, has launched, a web site that will promote rap artists, and provide the rap pioneer a platform for takes on the music business. 

Chuck D, who first reached prominence calling rap music the CNN for black culture, describes the new site as "the ESPN of rap music and hip-hop," mixing audio and video music clips, editorial content, cultural commentary, artist tour information, a radio station and Chuck D's top 10 lists.

The site was designed to "enlighten, empower and also entertain, as well as educate," Chuck D said. 

Currently, is Public Enemy- and Chuck D-centric, offering personal views on the past, present and future of rap and hip-hop; video interviews with Salt N Pepa and Sheryl Crow; the music video for Public Enemy's "Do You Wanna Go Our Way?"; and promotional downloads by artists from Chuck D's Slam Jamz label. is soliciting artists to upload downloadable music files to the web site, along with CD cover art, lyrics and album notes. 

Earlier this year, Chuck D formed Slam Jamz, which operates under the theory that the MP3 file format "levels off the playing field," according to its founder. 

Public Enemy has issued several albums since the late 1980s, but it was the group's online release of several tracks from an unreleased disc last year that garnered the group the most media attention it had received in quite some time [see 12.03.98 Public Enemy Brings the Noise to MP3 Battle]. 

In December, Chuck D posted music from Bring the Noise 2000 as free MP3 downloads at the official Public Enemy web site. 

The group almost immediately obliged a demand from Def Jam Records and PolyGram Special Markets, which owned rights to the unreleased album, to pull the songs from the web site. In April, Public Enemy released There's A Poison Goin' On on Atomic Pop, a record label founded by Al Teller, former head of MCA Music Entertainment, president of CBS Records and CEO of Alliance Entertainment [see 4.16.99 Public Enemy Marketing Downloadable Album Through Atomic Pop]. is being produced by Creamwerks Multimedia, which was founded by Chuck D/Public Enemy manager Walter Leaphart and television producer Lathan Hodge.

Creamwerks' chairman is Hassan Miah, the former chief executive officer of MP3 software developer Xing Technology. Rapstation plans to focus on "fashion and radio and television and merchandise," Miah said. With hip hop culture, "we're looking at a multibillion-dollar industry."

9.29.99 10:40 pm edt
  Chuck D Builds Rap Supersite To 'Enlighten' Fans, Artists:  Public Enemy leader and digital-music pioneer calls project 'ESPN of hip-hop.'
(from SonicNet website)
Staff Writer Teri vanHorn reports:

LOS ANGELES — Rap pioneer Chuck D unveiled his new supersite,, Wednesday morning (Sept. 29). He said it will "enlighten, empower and entertain" hip-hop fans and aspiring artists.

Not only that, he said, but the site — which he calls the "ESPN of hip hop" — will unite "the still underserviced and unfocused genre of hip hop."

The supersite allows visitors to read interviews with the likes of rap stars the Roots, Mary J. Blige and Puff Daddy, read or watch video of political commentary by the Public Enemy leader, view exclusive music videos and listen to streaming Internet radio.

In addition, the site provides aspiring artists information on the traditional and digital music industries and the chance to upload, download and trade MP3 music files.

"Artists will drive on the road that's built for them," Chuck D said during a press conference at the Los Angeles House of Blues. "Instead of trying to have a Lamborghini on a mud road that ain't gonna go nowhere, me and my partners felt it was imperative to build a highway and pave it. ... It doesn't just go east, west, north and south, It goes diagonal. It goes up and down."

Leaning into his microphone, he added in an ominous voice, "It goes where no artist has gone before."

As he spoke about his supersite, Chuck D frequently went off on tangents about the music industry, the importance of the Internet and his world travels, often provoking laughter in the venue's Foundation Room where the conference was held. He greeted reporters by saying "Good morning, good evening, good night" — greetings that he said reflect the global relevance of

Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour), who wore a black baseball cap and his usual black T-shirt and jeans, was joined by representatives from the site's producer, Creamwerks Multimedia, and Iguana Studios Inc.

"We're going to be looking at the best hip-hop TV, the best radio, the best editorial, the best DJs," Hassan Miah, chairman of SLO and Creamwerks Multimedia, said. has also entered a partnership with House of Blues Digital to produce an online pay-per-view rap concert series.

Chuck D, who said he has been working on developing for three years, said he also hopes the supersite will become a "governing force to keep some of these idiots in check who are just counting checks," referring to the top players in the traditional music industry.'s webmaster, Gary Edberg, and Creamwerks co-founders, Lathan Hodge and Walter Leaphart, took attendees on a tour of the site and explained the content provided in each area.

"Inside the Rhyme" features Chuck D's interview with the Roots, while "Digital Affairs" contains a column by Rap Coalition founder Wendy Day, in which she breaks down an artist's profit in the traditional record deal. The latter section will feature a column on health insurance for artists next week. will be the primary sponsor for Public Enemy's upcoming 40th tour, set to kick off in Minneapolis on Sunday.

In the spring, Public Enemy released There's a Poison Goin' On, their sixth album of new studio material, in the downloadable MP3 digital format; it was released as a CD in July. The album includes the futuristic "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" (RealAudio excerpt) and "41:19" (RealAudio excerpt), a rap about police brutality.

9.29.99  Chuck D To launch Rapstation Website
(from Davey D's 9.29.99 FNV Newsletter)
Congratulations are in order to Public Enemy's Chuck D as folks are buzzing about the fulfillment of one of his most ambitious goals. As most of us who are online know, Chuck D has been representin' the virtues of the internet in a major way. It seems like every where you went this past year and a half Chuck would be on the front cover of a magazine or newspaper talking about MP3s, new technology and the need for artist to level the playing field against often times oppressive and exploitive the major record companies. The internet, in Chuck's view was and is the great equalizer. His goal was to develop a 'super' Hip Hop website that would Enlighten, Entertain and Empower both the fan and artist alike. He wanted a website that would ideally eliminate the middle man and allow the artist to get his just due. Well folks that site is now here. Rap Station ( will launch on Wednesday September 29th at the House of Blues In Los Angeles. It's expected to be the premier Hip Hop site on the net both in technology and content. More importantly it will be a major hub for artist trying to make their way in this shady music business.

Listed below is Chuck's official press release...

F R E E  Y O U R  M I N D  F R O M  T H E  M A T R I X ! is on the air with news, noize, bits and bytes

for the intergalactic hip-hop nation. features:

Inside the Rhyme: the full scoop from hip-hop's movers and shakers
On the Real: Chuck D breaks it down
Rapstation TV exclusive programming and music videos
Rapstation Radio in the house 24/7
Digital Affairs empowering emerging artists
MP3 and upload, download, trade and discover the latest MP3s

The revolution will not be televised it will be digitized.


Chuck D

9.28.99 13:41 bst  Public Enemy Join Rage For Fan Club Gig
(from Music365 website)

American metallers RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE will be joined by Public Enemy when they play a not-so-secret fan club show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on Saturday (October 2).

The date was supposed to have been kept under wraps until a few hours before showtime, but the news leaked out among Rage fans on the internet. It is not known whether the rap outfit will join Rage on their additional club dates in Washington and Los Angeles.

Rage's new album, 'The Battle Of Los Angeles', will be available through Epic Records on November 15.

Fans will also be able to download and listen to three tracks from the album, including the first single 'Guerilla Radio', on the internet from Real Network's website from the beginning of October.

The full tracklisting reads: 'Testify', 'Guerrilla Radio', 'Calm Like a Bomb', 'Mic Check (Once Hunting, Now Hunted)', 'Sleep Now in the Fire', 'Born of a Broken Man', 'Born as Ghosts', 'Maria', 'Voice of the Voiceless', 'New Millennium Homes', 'Ashes in the Fall' and 'War Within a Breath'.

RATM performed a one-off showcase of new material at the Astoria in London on Monday, September 13 which included 'Guerilla Radio' (the first single from the album), 'Testify' and 'Born Of A Broken Man' in their set list. Judging from the showcase, the new album promises to be much heavier than their first two releases 'Rage Against The Machine' and 'Evil Empire'.

Guitarist Tom Morello told BBC Radio 1 that it took the band over three years to release their third album, since 'Evil Empire' was released in '96, due to touring with U2 and Wu-Tang Clan in '97 and vocalist Zack De La Rocha wanting to get the lyrics "just right".

Meanwhile, Public Enemy mouthpiece Chuck D launches his new internet venture,, at a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning (September 29).

9.27.99 11:20 am pt  Public Enemy Joins Bill For Rage Against The Machine's N.Y. Show
(from CDNow website)  by Kevin Raub

Public Enemy will get the party started at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City when they open up for Rage Against the Machine's (not so) secret fan club date on Oct. 2. There was no word at press time whether or not the controversial rap act will follow Rage to additional club gigs in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles or if they will remain on board for Rage's upcoming full-scale U.S. tour in support of the forthcoming The Battle of Los Angeles.

The combination makes sense, as the two groups are scheduled to work together on a re-worked version of "Prophets of Rage," from Public Enemy's groundbreaking 1988 album, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. No further details were available on that collaboration at press time.

9.24.99  Public Enemy to Open for Rage
(from Vibe website)
According to Liz Morentin, publicist at Atomic Pop Records, veteran rap group Public Enemy will open for socio-political rock band Rage Against The Machine at New York City's Roseland October 2. In related news, beginning in October Rage will preview two tracks online from their upcoming new album. The tracks, the first single "Guerilla Radio" and the album's first track "Testify," will be available at and at various radio station Web sites. Fans who purchase the album, due out in the U.S. November 2 on Epic, will be able to download an exclusive live track through a private RealJukebox Web site. Rage will also announce plans for an upcoming tour soon.

9.21.99  Public Enemy's Poison Goes Nationwide
(from Vibe website)

Veteran rap group Public Enemy will embark on a U.S. tour in support of their new album, There's A Poison Goin' On. According to a publicist at the group's label, Atomic Pop, the outing kicks off October 3 in Minneapolis and wraps up on October 24 in Vancouver, Canada. Here's the complete tour itinerary:

10/3 - Minneapolis (1st Avenue),
10/5 - Milwaukee (Rave),
10/6 - Chicago (House of Blues),
10/7 - Detroit (State Theater),
10/8 - Pittsburgh (Laga),
10/9 - Philadelphia (Mann Music Center, FREE SHOW),
10/10 - Washington, D.C. (Nation),
10/12 - Myrtle Beach, SC (House of Blues),
10/14 - New Orleans (House of Blues),
10/15 - Austin, TX (Stubbs),
10/17 - Denver (Gothic Theater, tentative),
10/19 - Los Angeles (House of Blues),
10/20 - San Diego (Belly Up),
10/21 - San Francisco (Maritime Hall, tentative),
10/23 - Portland (Venue TBD),
10/24 - Vancouver, CAN (Venue TBD).

9.21.99 11:00 am edt  Public Enemy To Tour North America
(from Billboard website) Edited by Julie Taraska

Public Enemy will kick off a North American tour Oct. 3 in Minneapolis. The monthlong outing will include stops in Chicago (Oct. 6); Washington, D.C. (Oct. 10); New Orleans (Oct. 14); Los Angeles (Oct. 19); San Francisco (Oct. 21); and Vancouver (Oct. 24), among others.

In addition, the pioneering rap group will perform a free show Oct. 9 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia.

Public Enemy raised eyebrows recently when it made its first album in five years, "There's A Poison Goin' On," available in its entirety in the MP3 format. The Atomic Pop set is also available in Zip Disk, cassette, and CD form.

Additionally, band front man/spokesman Chuck D appears with the Artist on a track ("Undisputed") on the latter's forthcoming album. That set, "Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic," will street worldwide Nov. 2 on NPG/Arista.

9.21.99  Public Enemy Hit the Road
(from Spin website)

Public Enemy have lined up dates for their first tour in years (in support of their recent Atomic Pop release There's A Poison Going On). Mellowing littlewith age, the rap legends turned indie marketing pioneers promise a mix of both classic and new material. DJ Lord Aswad of PE leader Chuck D's side project Confrontation Camp will replace original DJ Terminator X for the tour. At press time, shows are also being firmed up in LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Vancouver and Portland (check Road Raging soon for updates).

9.21.99 12:15 est  Public Enemy Sets Dates For North American Tour
(from MTV website)
After appearing at the Digital Club Festival in July, the venerable rappers in Public Enemy have announced plans for a fall North American tour in support of their new album, "There's a Poison Goin' On."

P.E. completed a European tour earlier this month and will kick off a month's worth of North American dates on October 3 in Minneapolis.

As with the European excursion, Terminator X has apparently decided to opt out of the upcoming gigs and will be replaced by DJ Lord Aswad, one of Chuck D's bandmates in his rock group, Confrontation Camp (see "PE's Chuck D, Professor Griff Go Rock Route With Confrontation Camp").

9.21.99  Public Enemy Announces U.S. Tour
(from WallofSound website)

Public Enemy will take its show on the road once again, kicking off its forthcoming North American tour in October.

The seminal rap group, supporting their new album, There's a Poison Goin' On, will kick off the trip on Oct. 3, at the 1st Avenue Theater in Minneapolis. Currently, 16 shows are scheduled, taking the band across much of the country in a three-week period.

9.20.99  Public Enemy To Work Club Tour In October:  Tour will support Internet-premiered album.
(from Live Daily website) by Rob Evans

Rap and online rabble-rousers Public Enemy, who recently tuned up with a quick European tour, will take their message to U.S. audiences beginning Oct. 3 in Minneapolis. The group is supporting the recent release of the album ''There's A Poison Goin On.''

The tour's October leg has been confirmed by Atomic Pop, the band's label. Additional dates will likely be added.

Public Enemy leader Chuck D. took the band to Internet-based Atomic Pop after growing frustrated with major labels. He's been ever-present in the press of late, urging other artists -- particularly black artists -- to take more control of their material by retaining ownership and seeking out new distribution channels.

''Poison'' was the first album released by Atomic Pop, and was offered for sale via digital download for $8 in June, more than a month before its release on CD and cassette. The label hasn't revealed how many albums were sold via download, though Atomic Pop CEO Al Teller told Billboard that the number was in the ''thousands.'' ''Poison'' hasn't cracked the Billboard 200 album chart since its July release on CD and cassette.

9.15.99  Public Enemy takes its "Poison" on the road
(from Rolling Stone website)  
The first three weeks of Public Enemy's U.S. club tour in support of There's a Poison Goin' On commence Oct. 3 at Minneapolis' First Avenue. The fifteen dates announced thus far extend through Oct. 23 (Salem, Ore.), but additional shows are expected to be announced later. The trek will feature CONFRONTATION CAMP's DJ LORD ASWAD manning the decks in place of TERMINATOR X. In related news, PE #1 CHUCK D appears on the track "Undisputed" on THE ARTIST's forthcoming Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

9.13.99 8:10 pm edt  Public Enemy Unveil Dates For 40th Tour:  Hip-hoppers to cross United States in October
(from SonicNet website)
  Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports:
Public Enemy's trek across the U.S. next month will be the pioneering political rap band's 40th tour, according to a recent essay by bandleader Chuck D.

Three weeks of shows are confirmed in October, with more to be added, according to Walter Leaphart, Chuck D's manager, and Liz Morentin, the band's spokesperson at Atomic Pop music.

In the spring, Public Enemy released There's a Poison Goin' On, their sixth album of new studio material, in the downloadable MP3 format; it was released in traditional CD form later. The album includes the futuristic "Do You Wanna Go Our Way???" (RealAudio excerpt) and "41:19" (RealAudio excerpt), a rap about police brutality.

"There's elements in society that are killing us slowly, whether it's spiritually, mentally or eventually physically," Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) said shortly after the online release. "Maybe technology is a rock that a lot of us can grab on to in order to exist in the next century."

DJ Lord Aswad of Chuck D's side project, rock band Confrontation Camp, will fill in for original Public Enemy DJ Terminator X on the tour; Lord Aswad did the same during a brief European tour that ended this month, according to Chuck D's "Terrordome" column on the official PE website ( Terminator X now runs an ostrich farm in North Carolina.

Public Enemy Tour Dates:

Oct. 3; Minneapolis, Minn.; First Avenue
Oct. 5; Milwaukee, Wis.; Rave
Oct. 6; Chicago, Ill.; House of Blues
Oct. 7; Detroit, Mich.; The Majestic
Oct. 8; Pittsburgh, Pa.; TBA
Oct. 9; Philadelphia, Pa.; Mann Music Center
Oct. 10; Washington, D.C.; The Nation
Oct. 12; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; House of Blues
Oct. 14; New Orleans, La.; House of Blues
Oct. 15; Austin, Texas; Stubb's
Oct. 17; Denver, Colo.; Gothic Theatre
Oct. 19; Los Angeles, Calif.; House of Blues
Oct. 20; Solana Beach, Calif.; Belly Up Tavern
Oct. 21; San Francisco, Calif.; Maritime Hall
Oct. 23; Salem, Ore.; Salem Armory

9.10.99  Public Enemy: The Next Revolution
(from RapSheet website) By Darryl James
rev•o•lu•tion; n;  a sudden or radical change in a system or state of affairs.

“I walked away from million dollar contracts, because they had strings attached.  They will never give you ownership of masters, because the record companies are merely banking systems and it is imperative that they own what they are spending on.  They want to own you for a longer period of time than you would like and the options are always one-sided.  And of course, the rights they ask for provide that you work exclusively for them.”           

--Public Enemy Number One, Chuck D

What truly defines a revolution?

If we examine the state of affairs in the music industry, and the manner in which music is currently being delivered to the consumer, we can witness that we are on the precipice of a major revolution.

It was revolutionary to fix music to a material to be mass produced and sold to the people in the first place.  Over the years since music first began to be sold, there were mini-revolutions in the form of unveiling the eight track cassette player, the smaller cassette, and oh yes, the compact disc.

The newest revolution can be found on the world wide web as music is being sold or otherwise distributed directly to the consumer.

With each revolution, the music industry embraces and ultimately controls the method of distribution to the consumer.  In fact, historically the music industry which has identified which method of storing music will be accepted and when.

This revolution is very different.

For the first time, thanks to internet technology, the music industry can potentially be excluded from the distribution process for the first time in the history of recorded music.

That, my friends, is revolutionary.

For the most part, the revolution on the world wide web has been raging on without any participation from the music industry or from urban music.

The artist formerly known as Prince was the first major urban artist to divorce himself from standard music industry distribution and join the revolution on the net.

It should surprise no one that the first major Rap act to follow The Artist’s lead is Public Enemy.

In partnership with Atomic Pop, Public Enemy has released their latest album, There’s A Poison Going On via the internet, before releasing it in stores within the real world.

And just like PE’s revolution started in the late eighties, Chuck D explains that his revolution is not simply for the benefit of he and his group, but has ramifications for other artists. 

“The Atomic Pop situation is revolutionary,” Chuck explains.  “They are instrumental, but once again, I’m battling the music industry with a toothpick in order to make a road for future artists to do their thing.

“By 2002, I want to see a million artists and five hundred thousand labels do their thing on the web and force the marketplace to be shared.”

While Public Enemy is standing with Atomic Pop for this album, Chuck D is already in the midst of building a supersite--a virtual web community capable of radio as well as e-commerce, which means that other acts will have specific options for avenues to follow to independence.

“We’ve also created, which is our multi-media streaming radio station,” he adds.

Public Enemy entered the game in the mid-eighties with the goal of creating new Black leaders, and while some may question his attempts to pave the way in a whole new arena, Chuck says that fighting and leading the way is simply his job in all of the madness, and that some of the major artists of today could not even exist without PE’s prior existence.

“Jay-Z couldn’t exist without Public Enemy.  Without Chuck D and PE fighting and still being able to withstand, DMX doesn’t shout, Puffy doesn’t dance.  For The Geto Boys and Master P to be as big as they are, someone has to take the hit, and I’m always willing to take the hits, because I know that these cats could never withstand the heat that me or my cats have ever withstood.

“I don’t mind people being on the top of the hill having things, because my job is to fight, fight, fight, so that they can have have have.”           

And while industry executives are playing ostrich, digging their heads in the sand and pretending that the web revolution will go away, enough of them are watching to be able to dismiss or attack Public Enemy’s relevance.

Chuck expected detractors, but not to the current level.

“Never before have I witnessed a time in the music business where a person wants to challenge me and my point of view, but wants to remain anonymous.  I tell them that they can’t have their foot on land and water at the same time.”

Public Enemy is in a position to help change how music is sold and manufactured, yet Chuck humbly places his group’s actions in perspective.

“These things are inevitable with me or without me.  I’m just surfing on the net--I’m just putting down my surfboard and going where the flow was already going.  If it happens with me, they’ll say ‘That N--ger was nothing but Crispus Attucks anyway.’”

Industry heads can try to dismiss PE if they want, but they will have to dismiss the plethora of independent Rap artists who are moving music on the web.  Those ground-level artists have been there, and now they are joined by the first platinum act to go online and walk away from million dollar recording contracts.

“I walked away from million dollar contracts, because they had strings attached,” Chuck says.  “They will never give you ownership of masters, because the record companies are merely banking systems and it is imperative that they own what they are spending on.  They want to own you for a longer period of time than you would like and the options are always one-sided.  And of course, the rights they ask for provide that you work exclusively for them.”        

Rights provided within recording contracts of today have changed.  On the ease of restriction side, artists can work with artists on other labels with more ease.  However, the original label may still get a cut of the collaboration.  On the tightening of restrictions side, universal rights signed away to the record company are becoming more universal to include the web.

“I’ve always questioned universal rights,” Chuck bellows.  “If I get to Venus, why the f--k should the record company have the right to my music there?

“Sony wants to not only control all cyberspace rights of the artist, but they want to control the website of the artist.  They want to (have rights to) ‘the universe and all the technologies to be.’  The music business prospers on the naiveté of the artist, and my job is to counter that.”

Chuck began his current revolution in 1994, after Al Teller began to talk about the need for the music industry to move toward downloadable technology.  On a cut from Muse Sick In Hour Mess Age, Chuck D and Harry Allen prophetically predicted the new direction for PE, which prompted Chuck D to seek to “immediately murder my contract with Def Jam.”

After putting PE’s contract with Def Jam to death, a relationship with Al Teller and Atomic Pop made sense because “you got to have somebody who’s crazy and who is a fighter and someone who has enough weight to resonate.  Out of all the companies we talked to, his ended up being the last one, because he shared the same vision and had the right blend of technology vision and savvy necessary to build what we would become part of.  Out of everyone I talked to, Al Teller got it, and has understood since 1993.” 

“More than a Public Enemy/Atomic Pop situation, this is a Chuck D/Al Teller situation.  It’s bigger than the record, because I could have delivered the record anywhere.  My thing is the statement of the record. I wanted the statement to be as powerful as the record.”

The deal struck between Atomic Pop and Public Enemy is quite different from the typical recording contract.

“Def Jam would never let you own the masters,” Chuck exclaims.  “We license the recordings to Atomic Pop and it’s on a album by album basis--one at a time.  If it works, we go on to the next one.

“We also license it territory by territory as far as the worldwide rights.  The difference between PE and everybody else is that we worked the world as far as touring, so when we have a contract, we have at least five territories that go into effect:  The Asian market, Australia, North America, Europe and of course, Africa and South America, which is newly formed, but growing by the day.

“We made deals with Al for all those territories, because you want things to go through the same funnel, but at the same time, you want to control the funnel.

“At Atomic Pop, we keep a large percentage of the royalties, which is more than fifty-fifty.  Atomic Pop is a distributor, and our partnership lies in building more equity in the multi-media aspect.  We created deals with, and my own label, Slam Jamz.”

The biggest difference between a standard recording contract and what Public Enemy has stricken with Atomic Pop is that the online and offline activities are completely separate.  Atomic Pop released There’s A Poison Going On in May, while the project was released in stores in July through Alliance in America and Play It Again Sam in Europe.  There will also be separate deals for Australia, Asia and Africa/South America.

Ultimately, all eyes of the clever will be on Public Enemy and Atomic Pop, because even for the wanna-be Rapper in Omaha, Nebraska, it changes the game.  As Chuck points out, the current game dictates that “you send your tape to New York or LA, and hope someone decides to give you a deal.”  Currently, the savvy artist with a computer could simply create a website and sell that music to the world.  Public Enemy, through Atomic Pop will make that game just a little easier as they demonstrate that it can work for urban artists.”

“Whatever glitches exist now, eventually won’t be there. 

There are always glitches when launching a new form of technology, and even though it’s good for music, the record companies are torn because it’s not necessarily good for them.  However, as Chuck points out, they are virtually powerless to stop it.

“It’s a double-edged sword, because technology beats technology every f--king time.  If it’s convenient, people will jump to it, and common logic prevails.”

He’s right. 

Any of us can recall how vinyl was pushed out of the record stores, because the recording industry wanted to move to the cheaper to produce method of placing music on a compact disc.  Eventually, the same industry will have to bow to the internet, because for the first time, they can not control the new technology.

“Johnny has a computer in the hood, and he’s (using a CD burner to) burn copies of Nas and Hieroglyphics and Missy Elliot (from standard recorded CD’s or even from MP3 files), and the rest of his favorite joints onto a seventy-four minute CD.  You know the rest of his friends will want a copy.”

We’ve seen this before, but with different technology.  How many artists from Too $hort to Luke to NWA made major cash selling tapes from the trunk of their cars before signing to major labels?  How many street deejays made mix tapes and sold them at swap meets before also signing to record labels?

This new technology “will not kill majors and independents, but it will change and open up the marketplace,”  Chuck explains, “because it will force labels to approach the artist with more lucrative deals, like fifty-fifty joint ventures.  Maybe the ownership of masters will be in question, and maybe the standard companies will all become distributors and just take a piece of the pie.

“They had their big boom when they came up with the CD--taking something that costs a dollar and change to make and selling it in the store for seventeen dollars.”

Chuck sees severe irony in all of this as he repeats like a montra:  “This won’t kill the labels, it’s like kindergarten--it forces them to share.”

The most unfortunate part in all of this will be if Public Enemy and other artists jump into this revolution for Black artists, and those same artists continue to line up for a standard record deal.  And Chuck already realizes this sad possibility.

“We’ll be the last in the batch.  The first ones to take advantage will be everyone else but us (Black people).”

Chuck recalls the past five to ten years when urban seminars were filled with people screaming for the need for our own distribution methods.

“It’s like Jesus--he ain’t coming back in the way that you expect, looking like Greg Allman.  It will come and you have to be able to seize the moment and recognize. 

“The new technology will not wipe out the standard technology.  The old way is established and it’s a rule of thumb that Black folks ain’t gonna get back.  We gave it away and it ain’t coming back.”

Sadly, I recall at a recent urban convention where record company executives, and radio and retail heads denounced the internet, claiming that no one actually sells music on the web.  I thought I was in the twilight zone as these high-paid professionals actually stated that the web was only for promotional purposes, ignoring the millions being generated by sites like CD Now,, EZCD and independent sites with e-commerce capabilities.

Chuck has seen the same people talking the same nonsense, which angers him as well.

“Not everybody with a mouth should be granted the right to speak,” he sighs.  “For years, Black folks screamed about distribution, and now that it’s here, we’ll just have to wait and see what they do.

“A visionary doesn’t deal with now, they deal with what will be and what can be.  Black folks are just learning who Bill Gates is because they saw him at a Sonics game last year.”

The cool part is that some people are paying attention.  And those are the ones Public Enemy fights the good fight for.

“I’m not doing this for me.  I’m doing this to open up the gap, because I want all of us to become successful.  I took a bullshit record contract in 1986 and made it sprout into many possibilities and opportunities for other artists.  I look at a Lauryn Hill or Busta Rhymes, and I’m proud that I did things which paved the road for them.

“Thank God, since I got into this game originally in 1977, that I got people all over the world who say I’m relevant as a motherf--ker in 1999.

Yes, thank God Public Enemy is still relevant, and that there are many more acts like them who have more to say than the average Rapper of today, who claims to be a pimp and a thug.

“You have pimps and thugs, ‘never hesitate to put a Nigger on his back,’ and all of this shit is endorsed by major labels and no one says shit,” says Chuck, frustrated.

"A thug and a rebel are two different things,” he continues.  “A thug is a rebel without a brain, direction or focus.  And it’s always okay for people to be thugs because a thug ain’t a threat to anyone but himself.  But a rebel is someone who looks at something with a brain and direction and says ‘I rebel against this bullshit, because it’s adverse to my existence.

“I’ve seen the industry relish turning the consumers into robots, and the artists have an almost single purpose of entertaining whites.”

There was a time when perhaps Black artists did not realize that whites outnumbered their people in buying and listening to the music, but at this stage in the game, even the least savvy artist knows who the audience is, yet still fills the music with N--ger and thug stories.

No one is screaming about the N--ger and thug stories which denigrate the Black image, but you had better believe that when Jewish people had a scrap of a thought that PE was being anti-Semitic, they came after them.

When Public Enemy released the single “Swindler’s Lust,” about the lust of the swindlers in the music industry, the Anti-Defamation League came after them with a vengeance.  Chuck says that they misconstrued the whole point of the song.

“I’m being anti-industry, not anti-Semitic with that cut, telling people of my horrorcaust dealing with the industry.  I’m telling people that my clicque has been ripped since Bessie Smith, and I’m not supposed to say shit?  I’m talking about my personal story, just like the Jews had Schindler’s List, I had to deal with Swindler’s Lust that f--ked me up.

“I have a metal band called Confrontation Camp, and they found a way to connect those two.  How can they be such assholes?  If I was being derogatory, why would I put myself in the group?  I give less than a flying fuck if I know I’m right.

“You’re dealing with the most fearless motherf--ker in the industry.

There are other fearless motherf--kers in this industry who will stand with PE as the revolution is broadcast live via the world wide web.

Rap Sheet is one who will stand and continue to report the developments on the internet as they pertain to the Hip Hop generation, even if a great portion of it has it’s eyes closed. 

A revolution can not be stopped by ignoring it.  It’s like a train--you can either ride it, or get run over by it. 

Jump on.

9.10.99  Chuck D Drops 'Louder Than A Bomb'
(from Vibe website)
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D has always been a major political force in hip hop, so it comes as no surprise that he has released a compilation of conscious rap music. Chuck D Presents: Louder Than A Bomb is in stores now on Rhino Records and contains 17 politically charged tracks from hip hop's heyday. In addition to the album, a bi-coastal college and mix-show radio tour is in the works and will hit Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Here is the complete track listing: "Proud to be Black" - Run-DMC, "You Must Learn" (Live from Caucus Mountains Remix, single edit) - Boogie Down Productions, "A Bird in the Hand" - Ice Cube, "A.F.R.I.C.A." - Stetsasonic featuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Olatunji, "Thinking of a Master Plan" - YZ, "Heed the Word of the Brother" - X-Clan, "Rock Dis Funky Joint" (Radio edit) - Poor Righteous Teachers, "The Day the Niggaz Took Over" - Dr. Dre, "You Can't Stop the Prophet" (Original version) - Jeru The Damaja, "Bush Killa" - Paris, "Black is Black" - Jungle Brothers, "The Message" - Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five featuring Melle Mel & Duke Bootee, "Fight the Power" - Public Enemy, "I Used to Love H.E.R." (Radio edit) - Common Sense, "Abortion" - Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew, "Freedom of Speech" - Ice-T, spoken words by Jello Biafra, "The Message 2000" (Chuck D & Ticc-Tacc Remix) - Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five.

9.6.99  Young no longer, but still fighting fit
(from Electronic Telegraph website) Tom Horan reviews Public Enemy at The Forum, NW5
It was hot and muggy inside the Forum - shorts would not have been inappropriate. Chuck D evidently thought so. For the duration of this two-hour thunder through the works of hip hop's undisputed all-time greatest band, the abrasive Public Enemy frontman modelled an outsize pair in the colours of the New York Knickerbockers basketball team.

As shorts will on a man of a certain age, they made him look a little silly. At 39 he is no longer the young hot-head who first came to Britain in 1987 as the group's inflammatory first album Yo! Bum Rush the Show was sowing notions of pride and righteous anger among young black men around the world.

Which is not to say that Chuck D is past it. Accompanied by his idiot-savant sidekick, Flavor Flav, he leapt around with more vim than most of today's rap whippersnappers can muster. Behind them on a podium, the quasi-military dancers who call themselves the Security of the First World went through their faintly preposterous leaps, kicks, and swordplay.

Public Enemy have every reason to jump for joy - their best music sounds as fresh and uncompromising as it did in their heyday at the turn of the decade. The opening bars of Rebel Without a Pause still send shockwaves through a dance floor 12 years after it was released; the question-everything sentiments of Don't Believe the Hype have seen the phrase enter the language. New tunes such as Crayola and What, What stood up well alongside numbers from the classic 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

No longer signed to a major label, Public Enemy release their music through an independent label and via the Internet (they claim 10 million "hits" so far on their Web site). This ramshackle night was a celebration of the non-aligned, anti-commercial stance that has always made Chuck D and his self-styled "rap stragglers" compulsory listening.

9.2.99 12:47 bst  Chuck D Talks New Underground Albums, US Tour, Potential Law Suit
(from Music365 website)

Rapper CHUCK D announced, in the latest Enemy Announcement, that the PUBLIC ENEMY catalogue is now available on the Internet via the Atomic Pop website. Classic CD albums such as 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions...' and 'Fear Of A Black Planet' are priced at a mere $7 (£4.50) each.

The PE master also said in his latest Terrordome column on the group's official site that he was considering suing American publication Time Magazine for libel. D's legal challenge comes after the magazine reviewed the group's latest album 'There's A Poison Goin' On'.

D said about the review: "I doubt if Time Magazine delved into any other topic other than the one that smacked their owner's hip opinion of being offensive, title alone. Time says the album's topics are 15 minutes late of tired topic. Y2K crash, homelessness, Diallo shooting, assisted suicide, cloning? Hey, I don't know if they're really listening... I will no doubt try to take Time Magazine to court for libel on this one for sure. Stay tuned..."

On a lighter note, D also announced in Terrordome that Public Enemy are to embark upon "a month long tour operating stateside in October to a town nearest yall". US dates will follow a European mini-tour which includes stops in the UK - London The Forum (September 3), Manchester The Academy (4) and Wolverhampton Civic Hall (6).

Fans are also tipped to keep their eyes and ears open as six underground Public Enemy CDs are also to be unleashed in the "upcoming months". They are: 'Bring The Noise 2000', Power Assault Live In The Belly Of The Beast: PE Live In Europe 1992', 'Live Smokin Grooves 1998', 'Live And Undrugged: Europe Rewrecked 1994', 'PE Madison Square Garden Live 1987/Nassau Coliseum 1998' and 'Soul Of A Nation/Mixes, Outtakes, Back Dialogues'.

9.1.99  Public Enemy, Run-DMC and Others Lend Music to Video Game
(from Vibe website)
Several hip hop pioneers as well as a host of techno acts will lend their music to the soundtrack of a new skateboarding game for Playstation called Thrasher: Skate And Destroy. The game is set for release on Take-Two Interactive Software/Rockstar Games on November 15. Grandmaster Flash gave his take on hip hop's relationship with skateboarding. "The way I see this game is like hip hop. It takes serious concentration and dedication. The dedication factor is as high as being a DJ. You got to be in it, to win it," he told Launch. Here's the track listing for the game's soundtrack: Sugarhill Gang – "Rapper's Delight," Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – "White Lines (Don't Do It)," Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force – "Planet Rock," Run-DMC – "King Of Rock," Stetsasonic – "Talkin' All That Jazz," Ultramagnetic MC's – "Kool Keith Housin' Things," Eric B. & Rakim – "I Know You Got Soul," EPMD – "I'm Housin'," Public Enemy – "Rebel Without A Pause," A Tribe Called Quest – "Award Tour," Gang Starr – "Just To Get A Rep," The Freestylers – "Freestlye Noize," DeeJay Punk-Roc – "My Beatbox," Sniper – "Crossfader Dominator," Hardknox – "Coz I Can."

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