Chuck D of Public Enemy.
Music and art and culture is escapism, and escapism sometimes is healthy for people to get away from reality. The problem is when they stay there.
—Chuck D of Public Enemy in 2004.
Today my post celebrates two things I love—art and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. More specifically, it features artwork by Chuck D that features his renderings of hip-hop royalty like Run-DMC and Ice-T.
Born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Queens, New York, Chuck D has been using his voice to express his views on everything from inequality and police brutality to civil rights, and once referred to rap music as “CNN for black people.” I have been a huge fan of PE for the last 30 years, but it somehow slipped past me Chuck D was once an aspiring art student. After high school, he attended Adelphi University in Long Island where he obtained his B.F.A. in Graphic Design and hooked up with another Adelphi student, William Drayton—the future Flavor Flav who he would form Public Enemy with. While he was honing his hip-hop skills, he designed party fliers for another associate of PE, sound innovator Hank Shocklee (The Bomb Squad). Fairly recently, Chuck revisited his love of art while on tour, and the results became a part of his very first solo exhibition Behind the Seen, currently on display at 30 South in Pasadena, California through April 8th.
I’ve posted some of Chuck’s art below, many of which are available for purchase, here.
“Lord of the Wheels.”
“Whodini, Funky Beat” an homage to Brooklyn, New York-based hip-hop trio Whodini.
“Iceberg OG Syndicate.” This piece by Chuck D gives is a nod to the hip-hop collective started by Ice-T, Rhyme Syndicate.
A portrait of Hank Shocklee by Chuck D.
More after the jump…