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-Public Enemy

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Public Enemy
Recent Headlines
(from October 1999)

10.28.99  Flavor Flav Debut Pushed Back: Solo disc 'It's About Time,' due in January, to be preceded by downloadable track.
(from SonicNet website)

The solo debut from Public Enemy funnyman Flavor Flav, It's About Time, has been pushed back to a Jan. 4 release, to avoid getting lost in the rush of holiday albums, a spokesperson for the rapper said. The disc will be preceded in early November by the radio single "Get On Down" and the Internet track "Flav 2K." The latter is slated to be available for download on beginning Nov. 20, the spokesperson said.

Public exposure:  Legendary rappers venture into Canada
(from Jam Showbiz website)  by Steve Tilley -- Express Writer
For one of the most influential rap groups in history, Public Enemy is having trouble getting the word out.

The rap legends, who play Red's in West Edmonton Mall tomorrow, seem to be obscured these days by a morass of radio-friendly imitators, descendants and others who owe them a massive musical debt.

Suddenly, ironically, Public Enemy's music is deemed too hard, too political, too inaccessible to those accustomed to Puff Daddy, Will Smith or embarrassing white boy bands who have mutated hip-hop into something that graces the cover of Tiger Beat.

Chuck D isn't bitter, though.

"Hip-hop is a subculture that evolved out of the black community, as a hybrid of people doing different things with the music, and rap music is a vocalization style," explained Public Enemy's leader and voice.

"The whole aspect of music is to share all, and communicate, and if people think that's cool, then that's cool," said Chuck D, speaking to The Sun while en route to Victoria for yesterday's show there.

Rare appearance

Along with hyperkinetic sidekick Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and DJ Lord Aswad (replacing DJ Terminator X on this tour), Chuck D is making a set of rare Canadian appearances, part of a North American tour to promote the new album There's a Poison Goin On.

The album has made headlines for more than its critically hailed content. In a highly publicized break from longtime label Def Jam, Chuck D took his songs to Internet record label Atomic Pop, making There's a Poison Goin On one of the first albums released entirely to the Net in the popular MP3 format before it was available on CD.

A longtime proponent of Internet music distribution, Chuck D vows corporations will not win in the fight for control of downloadable music.

"Not over my dead body. They're not half as passionate as I am about this new process, or this art itself - the combination of the two.

"This is necessary for my genre and the artists who basically don't want to go through the politics that the big boys are dictating."

12-year career

Casual music fans can likely name only a handful of Public Enemy songs, all from early in their 12-year career - Fight the Power, Bring the Noise, maybe 911 Is a Joke. In Canada's case, the exposure has been even more limited.

"We haven't been to Canada because we haven't been able to get through immigration in the past." (Someone should have told them to try a rusty freighter.)

"Public Enemy has been to 41 countries, around the world consistently. It's very strange that we couldn't get in Canada, which is practically upstate New York."

But Public Enemy relishes the opportunity to acquaint themselves with longtime supporters - as well as opening the eyes of new fans.

"It's a revelation to them to find out that rap music is a lot deeper than the eye can see, deeper than what their radio station can play or their video station can play.

"When they see us, people are like, 'Whoa, this is how a rap show should be.' "

10.23.99  Public Enemy Tour Crippled by Car Crash
(from website)

The Public Enemy tour went through some unexpected changes when DJ Addverse, the turntablist for the opening act, Detroit Champton, was involved in a car accident that has placed her in intensive care at Queens Peninsula Hospital. The accident occurred while the female DJ was on her way to New York for an event. The group will have to continue without their DJ for the rest of the tour dates.

12:40 pm pdt  Chuck D: 'Gotta Share the Tunes'
(from Wired website) by
Christopher Jones
EMERYVILLE -- The record industry's goal of creating a cohesive business model for online music is quickly turning into a free-for-all.

At the Music Biz 2005 conference last weekend, record industry executives met with artists and tech companies to map out some direction for selling music on the Internet. While the label representatives continued to promote their view of a secure digital distribution system, artists were more focused on the new creative and promotional opportunities the Net presents.

Chuck D, a co-founder of hip hop's Public Enemy -- and one of the first high-profile musicians to adopt MP3 and online distribution -- said the Internet is causing a top-to-bottom shift in the music industry.

"What you've got is not an eradication of the middleman, but a balancing out ... everybody will have to share a little bit more," he said.

Kevin Conroy, senior vice president of marketing at BMG Entertainment, said the Internet offers three applications for digital music: media, an efficient way of ordering 'product,' and digital distribution, which are at very different stages of development.

While the Internet as a medium has exploded and e-commerce has begun to take off, digital distribution is still very complicated and in its early stages. And until the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is completed, most record companies are not ready to send out music as bits on the wire.

"The end goal for SDMI is to create a marketplace in which companies can all operate with a degree of security that people can be comfortable enough with so that we can actually create a commercial marketplace," Conroy said.

Left Bank Management CEO Allen Kovac said that he's advising his clients not to worry about which file format to use right now, because "the great thing about these companies is their avarice. One of them will win, and we'll pay them a toll."

"The record companies need to hear something really clearly: Distribution is no longer your gig, banking is no longer your gig. Your gig is to market. And you're going to have to market outside of radio, outside of MTV, and outside of conventional retail. And that challenge is right now," Kovac said.

But Universal E Cat executive Lisa Farris quickly disagreed.

"I think it's about digital rights management, and if you believe that you are going to take your artists' intellectual properties and say, 'Oh, I dunno, Microsoft, a2b, any of those people, somebody will win.' If that is the attitude you're going to take, without saying we have a responsibility to create a digital rights management system ... that is an ignorant position to take."

Another persistent issue throughout the conference was the bugaboo of MP3 and pirated music, which many in the industry still view as synonymous.

"We have artists that are very upset about the fact that people who call themselves fans of the artists are in fact taking their music and making it available for free to large numbers of people," said Conroy.

But many of the artists on hand were optimistic that the Internet will open up enough new business opportunities for musicians to offset the inevitable increase in pirating. Some artists even suggested that pirating is a form of feedback that some musicians enjoy.

"Most artists that you talk to ... the chances of them saying, 'I want to protect my intellectual property, I absolutely believe that this has to be protected, I expect my record company and the RIAA to take any means possible to prevent piracy...' You're never going to hear that from an artist," said founder Thomas Dolby Robertson. "What you're going to hear is 'Man, I made some impact, I got 20 million downloads out there....'"

Dolby also said that long-term deals and constraining technology --CDs -- have kept the record industry in control of artists for years. But he expects the Internet to change this situation, giving artists an opportunity to present their work in different ways, and at different costs to the fans.

Jeff Patterson, who brought his band to the Net in 1993 and later founded the Internet Underground Music Archive, agreed with Dolby's projection that music may become a service-oriented business, fed to consumers via different types of Internet appliances.

"I get upset hearing the [record] industry trying to make technology conform to its rules. As new blood is coming in I think we'll see a big change to that, but I think we have to go through this SDMI stuff to get there, to move to this service model that may work."

Summing up the feelings of many musicians who have used the Internet to distribute music, Chuck D said the medium allows almost immediate gratification, which is a notion all but lost on the industry these days.

"When I first started in '86, you turned your master tapes in and had a 65-day turnaround, or as short as 30. Now, it's as long as 10 months! I mean, you could have a baby in that time, and start yourself on another one," he said.

"The beautiful thing [now] is I'll have a producer, I'll have an artist, and he'll go and cut [a song] and the next day it's up, like Stax records or something. It's like -- boww! -- it's out."

10.4.99 10:30 am edt
  Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy Campaign In New York: Political rockers preview tunes from third album; rap veterans open.
(from SonicNet website) Christopher O'Connor reports:

NEW YORK The new songs Rage Against the Machine played here Saturday night were a bit more melodic than the old ones. But that doesn't mean the Los Angeles band is giving up the rage that's built into its name.

Showcasing songs from their upcoming third album, The Battle of Los Angeles, at the Roseland Ballroom, Rage Against the Machine still brought a sonic assault of guitar riffs and noise while offering lyrics about controversial death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and the injustices of war.

They also brought along an equally political opening act hip-hop veterans Public Enemy, who mixed snippets of their classic battle-cries "Bring the Noise" and "Welcome to the Terrordome" with full versions of "41:19" (RealAudio excerpt), "Crayola" and other songs from their most recent album, There's a Poison Goin' On.

Direct as usual, Rage singer/rapper Zack de la Rocha shouted, "Good evening we are Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California," as his band launched into an incendiary 11-song aggression-fest, which included five songs from The Battle of Los Angeles (Nov. 2).

Fans jammed into the old midtown Manhattan club jumped and screamed throughout both bands' sets. Afterward, hundreds of them were left soaked in sweat, leaning on pillars to catch their breath. Even Rage guitarist Tom Morello's blue T-shirt came off after around 20 furious minutes of music.

"I have no voice because of [the groups]," 20-year-old Jose Rodriguez, from the Bronx, N.Y., said. "But it's all f---ing awesome. I love what they're doing politically."

Rage's set was an exercise in "heard that, ain't heard that." When they played the anthemic showstoppers "Killing in the Name" and "Freedom" (Real Audio excerpt) each a call to rebellion the crowd erupted in the face of the songs' raw energy. When they got to one of their new songs, which tended to be tighter and shorter, the crowd stilled and the event became more of a listening party.

"We've got to get used to the new songs," said Matt Cozen, 24, who traveled about 200 miles from suburban Boston with three friends for the show.

"I like [the new songs]," Cozen said. "They sound more old-school rock." Classic-rock leanings and a newfound melodicism notwithstanding, Rage's attack remained familiar. On the new songs, bassist Tim Bob and drummer Brad Wilk played loud and heavy but remained largely anonymous onstage, while Morello built guitar solos out of mangled collages of noise and de la Rocha jogged across the stage, letting his long dreads flap as he recited politically aggressive lyrics. The new songs they played included the single "Guerrilla Radio," (RealAudio excerpt), "Testify" and "Calm Like a Bomb."

Public Enemy rapper Chuck D challenged the crowd's politics, too. Twisting a famous lyric from the 1989 single "Fight the Power" to aim it directly at the young and mostly white audience, he rapped, "Elvis was a hero to you, but he never meant shit to me."

Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour) was dressed in black shorts, black shirt and black hat. His partner Flavor Flav (born William Drayton) wore the usual oversized clock around his neck and provided chaotic movement and machine-gun verbiage. Flavor Flav served as both comic relief and conscience for the audience. He shared a 1988-style stage jump join hands, jump and push off with Chuck D.

When he wasn't punctuating Chuck D's rhymes or screaming the word "f---," Flavor Flav engaged the crowd in 30 seconds of persistent screaming for no apparent reason. He won cheers for renouncing police brutality before his rendition of "41:19," which protests the February shooting of unarmed 22-year-old immigrant Amadou Diallo by four New York police officers in the Bronx.

"Police be doing some f---ed up sh-- out there," Flav screamed.

Saturday's show was one of several spot shows Rage Against the Machine have scheduled in advance of the release of The Battle of Los Angeles, their first album since Evil Empire (1996). They're scheduled to be back in New York on Nov. 2, the day the album comes out, to perform on an outdoor stage on 53rd Street for "Late Show With David Letterman."

10.4.99  11:00 am edt  Rage, Public Enemy Bring Politics To N.Y.
by Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
It was an evening of old-school rock and rap Saturday at New York's Roseland Ballroom, as Rage Against The Machine and Public Enemy -- two groups driven by music's power of expression -- preached to the masses. Neither of the two acts have ever shied away from confrontation, be it lyrical or musical, and on this night -- the first of several shows Rage is playing to preview its forthcoming Epic album, "The Battle Of Los Angeles" -- the ideologies flew by as quickly as machine-gun spray.

Live, Public Enemy isn't what it used to be, but rapper Chuck D still commands attention and respect. Decked out in New York Knicks shorts and a black jersey, he paced the stage and rattled off rhymes old and new, still fueled by attention to the social injustices that made P.E.'s music so incendiary earlier this decade.

Equally careful to mention his Web site address as he was to include classic anthems like "Fight The Power" and "Bring The Noise," the rapper showed little sign of mellowing with age.

The rest of the P.E. ranks sounded rusty, though, with Flavor Flav showing up late and appearing just in time to fire off "911 Is A Joke." Professor Griff was relegated to the background after Flav arrived, and little explanation was given for the absence of DJ Terminator X, who was replaced ably by DJ Lord Aswad (of Chuck's Concentration Camp side project).

Rage got the audience worked up in a hurry, inciting huge mosh pits despite opening with two new songs, "Testify" and "Guerrilla Radio." Recalling the thrashy groove of earlier Rage singles such as "Killing In The Name," both tracks hint at the rock power of the forthcoming set, due Nov. 2.

Other new songs performed by the band reflected a newfound willingness to incorporate more traditional rock melodies into the music. For example, "Sleep Now In The Fire" employed a slower tempo than previous work.

In addition to the new material, Rage revisited its earlier, body-crunching assaults during the set, with "Bulls On Parade" and "Killing In The Name" closing the evening on definite high notes.

The show was the first of a handful of pre-album release performances for Rage. Other stops include a set at the Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif., on Oct. 10 and shows in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C.

In addition, Rage's first single from "The Battle For Los Angeles," "Guerrilla Radio," is available for free at The track hits commercial radio this week.

Rage's last album, 1996's "Evil Empire," peaked at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

P4M Website Review: Chuck D's
(from Platform PFlash website) by Lauren Andrews

Finally, the culture called hip-hop has a comprehensive information center it can boast about -- a new website spearheaded by Public Enenmy's Chuck D.

At the site, Chuck D. explains that, "At Rapstation our goal is to empower artists so they can break free from the Matrix and learn about the business of the recording industry."

And empower it does. Rapstation is unique in that it caters to today's hip-hop artists singularly, offering help in the forms of constructive essays, hints, and tidbits from bigger names in the business, and a place to upload MP3's.

In addition to the tips and aid it provides, Rapstation also contains phat interviews with some of hip-hop's most promising and talented artists. For example, right you can check out a dope group discussion with The Roots in the section dubbed Inside the Rhyme.

However, MP3Jamz is probably the most intriguing area of this site. Basically, MP3Jamz allows artists to upload their music, including cover art work and production notes, to Rapstation where it will be posted in a list. From there, who knows? Anything could happen, which is what Chuck D seems to be saying with his creation of this website.

All in all, Rapstation is a promising new website which contains a large amount of valuable info for hip-hop artists and fans alike. Either way, this is one you don't want to miss, so check it out for yourself at

10.1.99  Enemy of the Web
(from Blaze website) by Kenji Jasper

In his nearly 20-year rhyme career, Public Enemy front man Chuck D has tackled every form of the media from music to books and television. Keeping with that tradition, Chuck is continuing his media assault through the Internet with his new website,,. According to Sonicnet, the site's aim is to "enlighten, empower and entertain hip-hop fans and aspiring artists." Rapstation will allow visitors to read interviews with artists and political commentary through the use of streaming video and Internet radio and will also feature a space for aspiring artists to upload and trade their MP3 music files. Most importantly the site has also entered into a partnership with the House of Blues to air a series of pay-per-view online concerts and will be the primary sponsor for Public Enemy's upcoming 40-city US tour. For more information you can log on to the site at

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