Friday, January 30, 2009

...and now, a few words from chuck d

While Bill O'Reilly at FOX News taunts hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, ridicules Cam'ron and Damon Dash on his show and ignores challenges from Nas to book an interview with Young Jeezy, Chuck D is in the UK and Europe, pontificating about the Obama effect and the state of things stateside on high brow chat shows and the like with political pundits and social/cultural theorists. I don't know what's more shocking for me -- the fact that this is an intelligent, thoughtful, opinionated, politically astute hip-hop artist in our midst, or that he is treated with such a high level of respect. Certainly his work as a seminal member of Public Enemy precedes him, especially in other parts of the world where they were wildly popular once upon a time -- and still are.

It should be duly noted that unlike most hip hop artists, Chuck D is a college graduate. He's also written a best-selling autobiography, has been tirelessly involved in political activism in the music industry and beyond since PE's inception (and received awards for it, by the way) and has remained popular on the college lecture circuit -- from Harvard to Howard -- for more than 20 years. One would think that if a tv show/news magazine would want to hear from an artist in the hip hop community, this guy would be on the short list. But he's not. At least, not in this country.

I know everyone in neoconservative America is raising a stink about the Jay-Z/Young Jeezy My President is Black remix but recently, Public Enemy made news when President Obama remarked that on his first date with his wife Michelle, he took her to see Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing which featured the song Fight the Power. The media kind of ignored this one. If you read any of Public Enemy's lyrics, you'll know why. They started cranking out the jams in the 80s and the stuff is still poppin' fresh like it came out last year. Especially the song Fight the Power.

It's time to play the lyrics. Everyone's lyrics. For now, here's what Barack and Michelle were listening to on their first date.

Fight the Power

1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hittin' your heart cause I know you got sould
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you're missin' y'all
Swingin' while I'm singin'
Givin' whatcha gettin'
Knowin' what I know
While the Black bands sweatin'
And the rhythm rhymes rollin'
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We got to fight the powers that be

As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you've realized the prides arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
from the heart
It's a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothin's strange
People, people we are the same
No we're not the same
Cause we don't know the game
What we need is awareness, we can't get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved lets get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say...
Fight the Power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We got to fight the powers that b

Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
Cause I'm Black and I'm proud
I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped
Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
Don't worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) lets get this party started right
Right on, c'mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be
Fight The Power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We got to fight the powers that b

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