PE Leader Releases New CDs, Graphic Novel
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
It turns out the social media beef between Public Enemy icons Chuck D and Flavor Flav was a hoax.
“April Fools” – sort of.
Chuck and Flavor today released brand new music, and the relationship between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends remains as tight as ever.
In an exclusive interview with National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., broadcast live on Facebook and at BlackPressUSA.com, Chuck D debuted the group’s new single, “Food as a Machine Gun.”
The single features a reunion of Chuck D and Flavor Flav.
“It’s the most important rap record ever,” the superstar stated.
Chuck D called the record important because it arrives at a time when many still take hip-hop for granted, and that includes African Americans and the artists themselves.
“Last year, I finished a four-year tour of the world with Prophets of Rage, and we played to packed stadiums and I watched Rage Against the Machine do a five-night run to sold out crowds in the [Madison Square] Garden. I saw how loyal their fans were and how wild they are. How much they loved their rock stars,” Chuck D stated.
“With hip-hop, our fans aren’t like that, and the artists are led by their having to get breadcrumbs.”
He said the media and others had taken away the narrative from hip-hop.
“Now, it’s time to take the narrative back from those who have side-swiped it. They need to be eliminated,” Chuck D added.
In February, news outlets reported that Flavor had been fired from Public Enemy after a dispute erupted between him and Chuck over the group’s performance during a Bernie Sanders campaign rally.
Flavor’s lawyers released a statement saying that the rapper hadn’t consented and was against the group supporting Sanders.
Things appeared to have heated up in the feud after Chuck took to Twitter and seemed to “out” Flavor as having a substance abuse problem.
However, Chuck explained to the NNPA Newswire that, while Flav does enjoy a Hennessy and chaser a little more frequently than what he believes a 60-year-old should, there’s never been an accusation of drug abuse, in contrast to the meaning that many took way from Chuck’s tweets on social media.
“Flav’s name was dragged through the mud so much in 2018 and 2019, so I had to do something to bring him up,” Chuck explained to NNPA Newswire.
“My name is kind of Teflon, but his wasn’t, so I thought this was a way of bringing him up. I had people say, ‘why are you doing stuff to Flav?’ I responded that ‘you aren’t supporting him. What are you doing to support him?”
Further, Flav wasn’t fired because “you can’t fire a partner,” Chuck D stated. “It shows you that people don’t pay attention.”
He called the banter between him and Flav a “hoax that ain’t no joke.”
“It’s a serious hoax,” he said.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Chuck and Flav have worked tirelessly on the new CD.
Chuck also has worked on a second CD that includes several friends from the hip-hop community. Both CDs were released simultaneously.
With a degree in the Arts, Chuck has also applied his talents as a graphics, sketch and caricature artist.
He chronicled the past month in a journal filled with narratives and sketches, including eye-opening renderings of Prince, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Notorious BIG, and many others.
“I was dismayed about how the whole narrative of hip-hop went into the area where we only talk about dead rappers,” Chuck D stated.
“Common gave probably the most incredible performance I had ever seen on television at the NBA All-Star Game in February, and you only heard crickets,” Chuck noted.
“Pop Smoke got killed, and the media was on it, and his records rose up the charts. We went through this with Nipsey Hustle. The narrative is that you’ve got to be a dead rapper to be relevant in the news, and that’s disrespectful.
“I want to use this as a teachable moment. All of that stuff with Flav and Bernie Sanders and the lawyers was all part of a plan. I wanted to see what happens when you present a bad look. And, it worked. I was trending for a bad look, and I thought that for more than 30 years, Public Enemy has given you nothing but good looks.
“We made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but this situation with Flav got us trending more than we did then. Thirty years after I made ‘Fear of a Black Planet,’ the digital age is fixed on what they see. I was on stage with Bernie Sanders, and nobody can tell you what they heard,” he said.
Because people tend to be more visual today, Chuck said he thought he’d chronicle the past 30 days. He didn’t anticipate a pandemic.
“Just thought I’d show things in pictures with the book, and the coronavirus came along, and there was even more to do,” he stated.
The book is titled, “There’s a Poison Going On,” but the name was decided upon long before the pandemic, Chuck assured.
“It’s ironic because, for the whole month of March, there’s been a poison going on for real,” he stated. “Maybe, people will pay attention to a good look the next time and not always a bad look.”