TIM EINENKEL: Let's get right into it. Your latest single/video
"NOTICE Know This"...what was the inspiration behind it? Much of the
sampling you've used throughout your career has been to pay homage to
the artists/people who've paved the way for you rather than sampling
for the sake of sampling. On "NOTICE Know This," did you choose to
sample Otis Redding in response to Kanye and Jay-Z's "Otis", where
they appear to sample in order just to make a hot beat?
CHUCK D: A few things inspired me here Tim. First, my (and also
Professor Griff's) 51st birthday.
Second, I was inspired by the possible combo of Jay-Z and Kanye West
and their use of Otis Redding was great work musically to me and the
idea caught my fancy although I was taken a bit aback and thought that
the song lyrics didn't really match the heart of Otis on Try a Little
The advantage is that WARNER owns the masters to that STAX/VOLT
material from 1961-1968, so you have businessmen that will easily
clear access to who they do business with. The average artist will
never be able to afford to rhyme on it and it seems uncanny that a
handful of lawyers, accountants, and elite execs have control over
those classics. We come from the art of mastering samples, and pause
tapes...it's so easy to rock one better than the other, so we really
can't take credit for what these legends produced, can we?
But Jay-Z and Kanye are giants and kings of this thing called RAP and
I'm betting that they lead rather than follow, because out-swagging is
for kids in the 8th grade...especially in these times. Those guys are a
combined 70 plus years and that equals enough wisdom for real people
to follow instead of old trickle down tricks...
Third, all of this in the shadow of hip hop media ringing the false
alarm on Souljah Boy purchasing a $55 million jet....?? Such a stupid
put out there rumor in this light. It was no knock on Souljah Boy
because that's his fantasy thing....but I attack the laziness of music
gossip laden, blogged down, hip hop media where a rumor gets the front
page and the truth barely gets a visit.
Lastly, this truth was inspired by our 77th tour and visits to Brazil
and Chile where the Hip Hop Nations are laden in revolutionary spirit
and change. I came back to America and felt addressing this ni-gravity
TIM EINENKEL: What's the secret?
CHUCK D: The secret is simply traveling the planet for 25 years to 77
countries. For this we have always been able to march to the beat of
our own funky drummer so to speak and not be a victim of mere American
regional, short minded, mainstreamed opinion, which comes and goes.
Our model is consistency in an inconsistent country and thus artform.
TIM EINENKEL: How has P.E. stayed together for almost 30 years? Has it
be tough to find inspiration to write your music over this long period?
CHUCK D: The World is rich with People, Places and Things in that
order. EVERY PERSON HAS A STORY. It pays to listen to the planet. Also
the past 100 years of recorded music is a tremendous resource for
music and lyrical ideas which probably have been heard and seen before...
TIM EINENKEL: The source of rap's creativeness came from social,
economic and racial inequalities. Rap is considered the "voice for the
voiceless." During the period you started rapping, it is easy to say
where you got your inspiration came from but now rap has become so
successful it is hard to tell what's fantasy and what's reality. Has
rap benefited from it's own success?
CHUCK D: Well let's put it to you this way like I said, I just came
from Chile where the Hip Hop Nation there is far removed from USA
reality or fantasy. The Hip Hop Nation marched 800,000 people in the
streets to protest to the government, bad educational practices.
Movements are in step with hip hop or I should say vice versa south of
the equator with South America, Africa, Australia and Asia moving
closer to Europe and North America in value and productivity.
When you say RAP has become so successful are you relating it from??
Jimmy Iovine, Russell and Lyor Cohen or Clive Davis vantage point? Or
the total 35 year old Hip Hop Nation which is suddenly affected by
large patches of its constituency facing aging with little or no
covered healthcare. Flossing is a fantasy. But real hip hop has the
ability to reflect reality and dictate a way out of it with forward
TIM EINENKEL: Is the album a dying form? Seems today, rappers are only
concerned with a hot single.
CHUCK D: First of all no art has been affected by technology as much
as music. It has rode neck and neck with it for a 100 years since the
piano sheets. History shouldn't be a mystery especially when its
documented so well.
As music cats it behooves us to know key facts and dates of
significant tech milestones. The album was introduced as a long
playing piece of plastic by Columbia in the late 40s, the grooves were
micro, thus more songs could be sold. This was great for jazz heads in
the 50s and 60s with long sessions.
The 45 dominated with R&B at that time as with the giant of Rock and
Roll. Radio and retail thrived off the single until 67 with Rock and
about 1970 with Soul. The 45 and later 12 inch extended single was the
hub of Soul then Disco then RAP. The 80s brought on the vinyl to
cassette to CD phase so that major companies could SELL a RAP album.
The deals with the CD and retail were stupendous for all of them. Plus
there was a demand for more RAP music in the 80s and 90s so it became
a album market by default.
The internet and the ability for many to create, and distribute songs
has returned this to a singles marketplace. The immediacy to spin a
topic on a dime and release has again brought the technological
relationship into play.
Although we will deliver a committed album for our base the fact is
that we do one song at a time, truly reflecting what I called RAP in
the 80s HipHops C-N-N.
TIM EINENKEL: Which album are you most proud of?
CHUCK D: Albums are like children you don't pick them like that. Each
of them have presented incredible experiences I would say MUSE SICK N
HOUR MESS AGE was very special in its National and International
contrast as well as its predictions about the music and record
business we are at today, and THERES A POISON GOIN ON - a very BOLD
step in to the internet in 1999.
TIM EINENKEL: If you stopped rapping today, which song would you want
to be known for? Why?
CHUCK D: Personally Welcome To The Terrordome, group-wise Fight The
Power but in these increasingly Whippings Of Mass Distraction ages...it
looks like Don't Believe The Hype is as relevant as ever...
TIM EINENKEL: Do you feel the artists who've paved the way for these
new cats deserve residuals?
CHUCK D: Of course but in the areas of increased opportunity
diversification, not a money handout.
Too bad the record business is just a sham of a shell, because for
years I suggested that they use veteran acts to develop their
departments who signed young new acts. Similar to coaches in sports,
whereas a older head put the younger ones through a training rites of
passage. In years past the road was the natural passage, the vet acts
headlined and the new ones opened. We had Doug E Fresh and Whodini as
our immediate teachers. I had to get anointed through cats like Melle
Mel and Kool Moe Dee to get passed.
Greed of the industry wiped out this eco-system whereas even 2 weeks
ago in Brazil I interviewed Redman and Method Man who took note on the
fact that there were so many unproven cats getting first class
privilege before they had an album or really moved a consistent crowd.
This is why my partner Gary G-Wiz and I started www.HIPHOPGODS.com -
it's where CLASSIC RAP lives on in its own right, 15 ears eligibility
makes it like the senior circuit in golf. You don't see Jack Nicklaus
or Arnold Palmer play these new cats, they keep in their lane. RAP
speaking CLASSIC artists are still cutting great music, shooting
videos as well as involving and corralling their fan bases in digital
social networks now. We wanted to create an internetwork that supports
this world and along with RAPstation and SHEmovement (For SISTERS in
HIPHOP EVERYWHERE) - the internetwork is gaining great attention as a
TIM EINENKEL: Is rap a dying art form? Is Hip-Hop a dying culture in
CHUCK D: RAP as an art form is a vocal on top of musics we've defined
already, it's not going anywhere. It's requirements for high art are
vocabulary and elocution. Natural things like voice and character
figure as well, either you got that or you don't. Superrappers are
being developed in other lands, cats that can spit and braid languages
with equal aplomb. This cant be achieved lazily. Moving a world crowd
requires the effort of making it high art. What Busta Rhymes just did
on Chris Brown's record was stunning. Not easy.
The world has caught up in RAP and has surpassed the USA because the
styles, applications and topics are too similar and comfortable from a
mainstream vantage point. The underground currents remain largely
ignored and most new approaches follow just what they hear on the
radio or music TV. The culture fundamentals have been followed and
trained HIP HOP and RAP across the planet thus its participants have
excelled and their fan bases moved with necessary excitement to
TIM EINENKEL: Thank you for taking the time Chuck.
CHUCK D: Thanks Tim. I can be heard on RAPstation.com on the
AndYouDontStop! radio show which is like an NPR, magazine approach for
HIPHOP and RAP. It's played on 99.5 WBAI in New York City 75% of the
year on Friday night's between 8p-10p. Also my SONGS THAT MEAN
SOMETHING segment can be found on RAPstation as well....I play GLOCAL
music taking local artists globally and global acts locally LIVE in NYC.
- Tim Einenkel for HIPHOPGODS & RAPstation.com