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Never Have So Many Been Pimped By So Few!
January 1st, 2011

[Note: Chuck D wrote this essay as a letter to Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur
(AllHipHop.com) and Davey D (DaveyD.com). With permission, the message
by the Public Enemy leader, has been edited slightly into a scathing
editorial about the media, Hip-Hop and the how the culture has been
pimped by a mere few.]

Chuck D:

I really don't know what constitutes for "relevant" coverage in
HIP-HOP news in America these days, but I really want to give you all
a heads up. As you know I've been through three passports, 76
countries on the regular in the name of Hip-Hop since 1987 and in
2010, although I've never stopped traveling the earth this year, I've
seen, heard and felt some new things.

As far as RAP and HIP-HOP, it's like USA Olympic basketball, the world
has parity now and have surpassed the USA in ALL of the basic
fundamentals of HIP-HOP - TURNTABLISM, BREAKING, GRAFFITI, and now
EMCEEING with succinct mission , meaning and skill. Skill-wise rappers
spitting three languages, have created super rappers to move the crowd
with intensity and passion. The "arrogant" American comes in
blackface, but if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don't
think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass or even ass
for that sake.

record book that doesn't really exist. The 20th year anniversary
of FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET has become into a year and a half
celebration of eights legs and five continents. All the while, looking
at a HIP-HOP Planet across 25 countries while still somewhat
supportive of American rap, the rest of the world has surpassed the
U.S. in skill, in fundamentals and commitment to their communities.
Public Enemy's mission is to set the path, pave the road for cats to
do their thing for a long time as long as they do it right.
Because of the lack of support from local radio, television and
community in the United States, the ability for "local" acts to thrive
in their own radius has killed the ability to connect and grow into a
proper development as a performer, entertainer and artist. Rappers
trying to get put on to a national contract hustle from a NEW YORK or
LOS ANGELES corporation has caused the art-form to atrophy from the
bottom, while never getting signed to a top echelon that really
doesn't exist, but to a very few.
HIP-HOP NEWS spreads like any other mainstream NEWS in America. The
garbage that's unfit to print has now floated on websites and blogs
like sh*t. For example a rapper working in the community gets obscured
while if that same rapper robbed a gas station he'd get top coverage
and be label a "rapper" while getting his upcoming or current music
somewhat put on blast, regardless of its quality which of course is
subjective like any other art. RAP sites and blogs are mimicking the
New York POST.
This is not mere complaint , this is truth and its coming down on
Americans like rain without a raincoat with cats screaming how they
ain't wet. This is real. The other night upon finishing groundbreaking
concert performances in Johannesburg we followed a special free
concert in Soweto. To make a point that our agenda was to "show? and
encourage the Hip-Hop community to be comfortable in its mind and skin
without chasing valueless Amerikkkan values.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

It does the people of the planet little good to hear that an an artist
is famous and rich, will wear expensive jewelry straight from the
mines, show it off, stay it the hotel, ride in limos, do the VIP with
chilled champagne in the clubs, ape and monkey the chicks (meaning not
even talking) and keep the dudes away with slave paid bodyguards when
real people come close. The mimic of the VIACOM-sanctioned video has
run tired, because it shows off, does NOT inspire and it says NOTHING.
Here in South Africa PUBLIC ENEMY has done crucial groundbreaking
performances. Its the same level of smashing the house that we've done
this year in Moscow, New York, Paris, London , Chicago and other
places this year. This is not news We are not trying to prove any
point other than to show that a classic work is timeless and doesn't
have a demographic per se. The Rolling Stones and U2 are NOT measured
by mere tracks' they are measured by the all-around event they
present. The art of the performance has left Hip-Hop whereas somebody
has led artists to do more performing off the stage than on it. The
agenda here is to create artist exchange
This serves as a call to the infrastructure-less Hip-Hop game in
Amerikkka. We know what your hustle is, but what is your work and job
here? Faking it until making it runs its course in a recession, which
is a depression for Black folks who increasingly are becoming more
skill-less as they become jobless.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.
Since the music has so much power, and image has become everything to
the point that it can dictate the direction of a person in their life,
it is my mission now to really become a "freedom fighter" and stop
this radiation. With Jay-Z and others who, for years would faint their
worth, the statement of "with great power comes great responsibility,"
is more true. Words are powerful and they can both start wars and
bring peace. This cannot be taken lightly. Its important for the words
to be body with the community. If not one dime of $250 million doesn't
benefit the people who contribute to it then why does that warrant
coverage above the will and effort of many in the music who have done
great things.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

I turned 50 this year. Everyday I get the question whats up with
Hip-Hop today. If nothing was wrong the question wouldn't be the
dominating question I get. I do massive interviews worldwide. I'm
covered from varied aspects Hip-Hop, Public Enemy, social issues,
musicology in general. So, my interactive world dialogue is deeper and
more present than 140 characters.
Never have so many been pimped by so few.
I am tired of the silence of people that know better. There is nothing
worse than a person that knows better and does worse. Or says nothing.
And makes excuses for bulls**t.
You know damn well HIP-HOP in the USA has fell way the f**k off as the
American dollar and much of America itself. Held up and dictated by
White business lawyers, accountants in New York, and Los Angeles offices.
To dictate to a community and not even live or be with the people is
offensive. VIACOMs reach into Africa to turn HIP-HOP in to Amerfrica,
which is as exploitative as those slave-makers who carried us across
on boats. The decisions made in a boardroom in New York City while
these cats scurry to their high rises, and suburban mansions from
cultural profiteering must stop. And I'm going to do something about it.
Never have so many been pimped by so few.
My agenda of Hip-Hop around the world is in line with its creators,
who followed Black Music. The music had the people's back. It has
never been my personal agenda. Americans arrogantly have no back.
Hip-Hop has followed this. I am disturbed by the fact that I tell
artists that doing work in their community will get them little or no
buzz for their effort, but in the same sense if they robbed or shot
someone or did a bid they would get national and sometimes
international attention.
Never have so many been pimped by so few.
So many of your favorite people suck up to the NBA and NFL, because it
has order and when you make the game look bad David Stern or Robert
Goddell is kicking their asses out . They are the indisputable HWIC,
and negroes are in line and silenced. But here in Hip-Hop
the dysfunctionality reward makes the money that puts food on many tables.
Its time, because I hear too many excuses. I wont allow what's in the
USA f**k up what I and others worked hard to instill. I drive a '94
Montero, a '97 Acura, and have no expensive jewelry. There is nothing
on this planet materially that is better than myself. This is what I
instill in many doing Hip-Hop that nothing is greater than what is
given. These games of people doing anything to get things has seeped
into my way so therefore witness some radical virtual things coming
from me in protecting the art-form of Hip-Hop.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.
So, I'm going after the few.
I'm tired of it.

Chuck D from CaPEtown, South Africa.
Public Enemy's 71st Tour
6th Leg of a Fear Of A Black Plan Tour

Chuck D is an emcee, author, producer and civic leader, among other
things. He also happens to front a legendary, revolutionary rap group
called Public Enemy. Public Enemy is renown for their politically
charged lyrics, frenetic production style and penchant for shaking up
the power structure.