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‘Behind the Seen’: Chuck D of Public Enemy holds his first solo art exhibition
03.29.2018
08:45 am
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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…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.29.2018
08:45 am
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Public Enemy’s sign language interpreter is pretty badass!
06.26.2017
12:41 pm
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Sign Language Interpreter during Public Enemy performance

 
Even though this video was shot back in 2014, it’s making the rounds again today because of reddit and imgur. The imgur video doesn’t have sound. I was able to track down the original video on YouTube with sound so you can get a better feel for what’s going on and hear the actual lyrics she’s interpreting.

The footage is from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The sign language interpreter’s name is Holly Maniatty and, well, she obviously rocks! 

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.26.2017
12:41 pm
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There’s a Public Enemy action figure set (does not come with noise, bring your own)
07.22.2016
12:32 pm
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I’m loving this Public Enemy action figure set designed by Ed Piskor, author of the New York Times best- selling and Eisner Award-winning comic series: Hip Hop Family Tree. I dig the details and it looks like they’re posable in the knees, elbows, hips and shoulders.

Kings of Hip Hop and inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Public Enemy’s “first action figure as a set” featuring four of the central members from the 80’s. Members are: Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and Terminator X.

Right now they’re only on pre-order at $60 for all four of ‘em. The release date is set for August 2016.


 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.22.2016
12:32 pm
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David Bowie, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, & Thin Lizzy songs reimagined as comic books

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars fake comic
“Ziggy Stardust” as a vintage comic
 
Chris Sims of the website, Comics Alliance came up with the idea to mashup some old comic book covers with popular songs by David Bowie, The Flaming Lips, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, just to name a few.
 
Beastie Boys' single
Beastie Boys’ 1986 anthem, “Brass Monkey”
 
Public Enemy's S1W's get the comic book treatment
Public Enemy’s “S1W’s”
 
The Flaming Lips 2002 single
The Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
 
Doctor Funkenstein!
Parliament’s “Dr. Funkenstein.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.17.2016
10:47 am
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Louder than a bomb: Public Enemy’s intense extended live set on Dutch TV from 1988
02.11.2016
08:50 am
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Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
 
1988 was a huge year for Public Enemy. That year they released their second record, one of the most important records in history (hip-hop or not), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and toured all around the world in support of the album, to insanely enthusiastic, packed house crowds.

I saw PE on that tour, and it was like nothing else that I’d ever seen before. Everything about that show was in fact, harder than the hardcore. Love them or hate them, everybody knew who Public Enemy was in 1988. Even in the Netherlands.
 
Public Enemy, 1988
 
During the tour, PE found themselves in Holland and made an appearance on a Dutch music television show called Fa. Onrust. During the show, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Terminator X rip through “Night of the Living Baseheads,” “Rebel Without a Pause,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype.” If that’s not enough for you, Run DMC just happened to be in Holland themselves at exactly the same time, and Joseph Simmons/DJ Run and Darryl “D.M.C.” Matthews joined PE on stage to kick out their 1988 track, “How’d Ya Do It Dee?” from Tougher Than Leather. Damn.
 
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988. Chuck is asking the audience to throw up the “peace sign”
 
Despite all the good times that you will see in the video below, there is a slightly uncomfortable interview segment with the two (rather clueless) female hosts of the show. The interview was already going off the rails—thanks to the always brutally honest Professor Griff)—but then the always eloquent Chuck D. decides to give a pop quiz his hosts about the Netherlands’ political system, which they obviously don’t know a lot about…

Here come the drums!
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ Deconstructed

Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.11.2016
08:50 am
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Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ Deconstructed
01.13.2014
08:49 am
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Public Enemy released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in 1988. Few albums have made a bigger impression on me or meant as much.

Today, Flavor Flav is a former reality TV star and Chuck D is a former Air America Radio personality and an elder statesman more generally. It’s difficult to reconstruct just how weird and scary Public Enemy once was to White Amerikkka. In 1989, when I first heard Nation of Millions, I was a college freshman who listened exclusively to radio-ready pop music and classic rock, with the exception of the speed metal I had recently gravitated towards—in fact, the inclusion of a snippet of “Angel of Death” by Def Jam labelmates Slayer on “She Watch Channel Zero” was one of the first facets of the album that attracted me to it.
 
Public Enemy
 
We didn’t know it then, but 1988 was the heyday of intensely sample-heavy rap LPs before the lawyers ruined everything—other masterpieces using that approximate technique include the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. For a dopey white kid from the suburbs, the texture of Nation of Millions was heady, intoxicating. I could obscurely categorize all the talk of “white devils” for which Professor Griff would soon be jettisoned from the band as “wrong,” but most of the other stances, even the incoherent ones, were far more difficult to rebut. The sound of the album was insistently “hard” and justifiably angry, funky and brainy, an album to drive you to bone up on James Brown and Malcolm X. The purpose of the approach was to change minds, but I often wonder if Chuck D and the Bomb Squad had any notion of the appeal the album might possess for impressionable white kids. I suspect it wasn’t much on their minds.

The densely multilayered nature of Nation of Millions cries out for a deconstruction—preferably one that can be imbibed via the ears. Fortunately, on the Solid Steel Radio Show a few months ago, DJ Moneyshot released a remarkably enjoyable hour-long episode that does precisely that. For anyone who loves the album, the show is a singular treat, nothing less than an aural essay on its sources, of which there are many. Civil rights speeches, immortal soul classics, contemporaneous rap gems, and interviews with the likes of Hank Shocklee are all mixed together, Bomb Squad style, into a delightful stew.

Oddly, I’d learned only days earlier that one of the key opening samples from “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” stems from Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions; I also had no idea that David Bowie’s “Fame” was used as the bed for one of Griff’s mottos in “Night of the Living Baseheads.” I’m going to assume that many DM readers, being less ignorant than myself, will still derive considerable enjoyment from this head-scrambling mix.
 

 
Thanks to Lawrence Daniel Caswell!

Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.13.2014
08:49 am
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Duran Duran’s curious cover Public Enemy’s ‘911 Is a Joke’
11.12.2013
08:50 am
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Duran Duran has had more ups and downs than your typical 1980s teen sensation. They’re still as active as they ever were—they were touring as recently as 2012 and reportedly are working on their 14th album, this time with the help of Mark Ronson, who has produced albums by talents as notable as Q-Tip, Amy Winehouse, Black Lips, and Paul McCartney. Being Duran Duran, there’s more than a faint whiff of “1980s has-been” connected to them, but it would be preposterous to claim that they’re anything remotely close to one-hit wonders—their first four albums went platinum in the U.S., and eleven of their singles cracked the top 10 in the U.S., a list that for some unfathomable reason doesn’t even include “Rio.”

Still, Kurt Cobain and N.W.A. more or less smashed to pieces any pretension of relevance to which Duran Duran may have laid claim to in the 1990s. Even after that point, however, their journey was not altogether embarrassing. Allmusic.com gives high marks to their 1993 self-titled effort (many refer to it as The Wedding Album), even as it disparages their “wretched” cover of the Velvet Underground classic “Femme Fatale.” Jumping ahead to our own era, Allmusic.com similarly has positive feelings for their last two studio efforts, 2007’s Red Carpet Massacre and 2011’s All You Need Is Now.

It will be clear that my purpose here is not to heap derision on Duran Duran. I was in middle school in 1983, and I recall full well how thoroughly they dominated the 13-year-old demographic, particularly the girls. I respect the supreme popcraft of Duran Duran at their best. But it would be foolish to pretend that there haven’t been some low points.

Foremost among them may be their cover of Public Enemy’s “911 Is a Joke” off of their 1995 covers album Thank You (even reflexively generous Allmusic.com gives that album a single solitary star).

Here’s the album cut:

 
Duran Duran’s version of the Flavor Flav classic off of Fear of a Black Planet takes the unimpeachable Hank Shocklee beats into a more rootsy direction—many have commented that it sounds a lot like early Beck, in fact (Beck, of course, was probably at peak visibility around then). In the video below, it’s hard to feature to what extent Simon Le Bon and the boys (former Zappa player Warren Cuccurullo without a shirt seems like a version of Glenn Danzig) are taking themselves seriously or not. After all, the song is a pointed critique of the deeply embedded racism that may or may not be peculiar to the United States, where your address will determine the level of social services that you receive. It’s difficult to imagine that Duran Duran ever had any such problems with the emergency services in the UK, or if they did, it’s pretty certain that race wasn’t a factor. (Also, 911 doesn’t even mean anything in England, where they use 999 for that purpose.) Point being, surely none of this was lost on them, right?

In the end, the key miscalculation may have been to underestimate the skills of Flavor Flav. As PE’s court jester and figure of fun, Flav doesn’t conform to anyone’s idea of an artistic master. But “Cold Lampin’ with Flavor” off of Nation of Millions is a work of sheer, unbridled genius; as far as I know, there’s nothing in the rap canon that can touch it (hey, refresh your memory if you disagree). And “911 Is a Joke” ain’t far behind.
 
Here’s that live rendition of the track, taped at Musique Plus in Montreal:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
When Duran Duran supported Hazel O’Connor’s Megahype
He Ain’t No Joke! Flavor Flav’s awesome cameo in decidely old school 1987 Eric B. and Rakim video

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.12.2013
08:50 am
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Corky from ‘Life Goes On’ shows his punk/hip-hop side and ‘Fights the Power!’
04.18.2013
12:57 pm
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In honor of Public Enemy’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight, here’s a clip from the Life Goes On TV series where “Corky” shows his more rebellious side and “fights the power.”

And, yes, I’m probably going to Hell for posting this.

  
With thanks to Leopold Stotch!

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.18.2013
12:57 pm
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More excellent cassette tape art from Sami Havia


Alice Cooper
 
Here is some more of that excellent “cassette art” (as used on the Aphex Twin post just below) by the Finnish artist Sami Havia. Sami’s website is here, but these are the only other examples I could find of this style, and they’re taken from the Today And Tomorrow blog. Maybe if we ask nicely he will start making more?
 

DJ Shadow
 

2 Unlimited
 

Public Enemy
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.29.2011
09:54 am
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Public Enemy keeps sayin’ it in a brand new video

image
 
Public Enemy’s explosion onto the American music scene in the mid-to-late-‘80s transformed the musical views of a lot of people, myself included. These guys were the full package. Sonically they fused hardcore New York rap style with militant black power lyrics and a dense, bombastic sample-heavy rhythm attack. Visually, they had a solidly political graphic style and tough, utilitarian fashion sense that accentuated their revolutionary attitude. PE were a dream come true for dorky college students like me who were in love with both serious anarcho-punk bands like the then-recently defunct Crass and black music in general—especially hip-hop. Their 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is a landmark in American pop music.

PE marks their entrance into collectors’ posterity via a 3-CD/3-DVD-photo-book-and-t-shirt box set with a new video for their summer single, “Say It Like It Really Is,” shot in the surprisingly peaceful surroundings of Niagra Falls. Older, but still dangerous minds.
 

 
After the jump: a 2007 video re-contextualizing of P.E.’s 1999 tune “I”, with Chuck D. surveying New Orleans’ Ninth Ward…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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09.08.2010
07:35 pm
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Melvin Bliss, Singer of One Of The Most Sampled Songs Of All Time Has Died

image
 

Melvin Bliss, singer of one the most sampled songs of all time, 1973’s “Synthetic Substitution,” has died. The list of artists who’ve borrowed from the track is long and overwhelming: Ultramagnetic MC’s, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Naughty By Nature, Gang Starr, Wu-Tang Clan; it goes on, pretty much forever.

Zach Baron of the Village Voice has put together a sweet video tribute to Melvin. Check it out at Village Voice

 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.29.2010
04:22 am
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Glen E. Friedman Interview at the opening of FUCK YOU ALL

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Photo Credit: Glen E. Friedman
 
image
Photo Credit: Glen E. Friedman
 
image
Photo Credit: Glen E. Friedman
 
Here’s a really wonderful interview with one of my favorite photographers and artists, Glen E. Friedman. Do yourself a favor and watch the video. From State Magazine:

It was then that I found that the most beautiful, gripping color photographs were taken by just a single photographer, a very young teenager, by the name of Glen E. Friedman. Glen would go on to take these skills he learnt as a kid and apply them to his other great love in life, music. What you’re about to hear is an interview I did with Glen, who describes for you, some of his favourite shots from the last four decades. It’s a journey which has taken Glen from the mosh-pits of American punk-rock with bands like Black Flag and Fugazi to the suburban streets with hip-hop where Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Run DMC, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest and Ice-T all became subjects in front of Glen’s lens. So, less talk, more action; press play. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand…well, you know…

 
Interview with Glen E. Friedman in pictures & audio

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.28.2010
01:00 pm
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It Takes A Nation Of Thousands To Finance The Next Public Enemy Record
10.06.2009
05:57 pm
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image
 
In a move reminiscent of the Thin White Duke‘s mid-‘90s issuing of Bowie bonds:

Hip hop pioneers Public Enemy will partner with fan-funding site Sellaband to finance their next album.  Public Enemy is one of the first established acts to sign up to Sellaband?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.06.2009
05:57 pm
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