That Public Enemy are The Beatles of Hip-Hop is given, that Chuck D is the Godfather likewise. But there’s always been another level with Chuck and PE; not only have they always been a band apart from the scene, but also the one rap group capable of crossing genre boundaries, as proven on recent tours with The Cult and Prodigy. It’s no surprise that despite being in their fifties and with thirty plus years, count em, of career, they are still raging and delivering quality work; last year’s ‘Man Plans God Laughs’ being all killer, while the soundtrack to ‘Live from Metropolis’ proved they are still a cut above the rest on stage.
Neither Public Enemy nor Chuck D could be described as subtle, they have a point to get across and do so forcefully, the politically charged subject matter of their lyrics more suited to the direct approach. For in your face delivery of barbed social commentary and raw power, Chuck’s booming baritone is unmatchable, his distinctively resonant voice setting him out as one of the most unmistakeable MCs of our time. It´s testament to his talent and Public Enemy’s standing that outside of the band Chuck has contributed to a number of collaborations in genres as diverse as Folk and Heavy Metal, check them out below…
Cutting Heads with John Mellencamp
When folk singer Mellencamp wrote a song about his irritation at rappers using the “N” word in their songs, he needed a black voice and there was really only man he could call – ” I thought coming from me alone, it would be obtuse. But Chuck is the conscience of the whole black community. He was the only choice to do this song with me, because he’s the only guy that never participated in it, always kept his integrity and his wits about him.” Bluesy folk with a southern groove and a laid back rap from Mr D.
New Agenda with Janet Jackson
When Jackson took full artistic control of her career and made her phenomenally successful fifth album ‘Janet’, Chuck was the man to provide a hard edged counterbalance to JJ’s pop stylings. (Not so) Surprisingly, the black-pride anthem is a fine slice of slick pop music with a little added depth – tune.
Your Reality’s a Fantasy But Your Fantasy Is Killing Me with Boom Boom Satellites
The big beat jazz punk of this Japanese duo makes for interesting listening and this extremely likeable track features a stellar vocal performance from Chuck.
Survival a.k.a. Black Survivors with Bob Marley
‘Chant Down Babylon’ is an absolutely superb remix album of Bob Marley‘s music featuring a number of contributions from the likes of Lauren Hill, Busta Rhymes and of course Chuck D. There’s a short rough and ready rap from the Public Enemy frontman as well as spoken contributions. Great album, well worth checking out.
Bring The Noise with Anthrax
This is without doubt the ultimate rap metal crossover collaboration and back then speed metal with rapping on it was pioneering stuff – damn, even Scott Ian contributes a verse. Quality. Check out the all star on stage mosh on this version.