Leader and co-founder of legendary rap group Public Enemy
As leader and co-founder of legendary rap group Public Enemy, Chuck D redefined rap music and Hip Hop culture with the release of PE’s explosive debut album, “Yo Bum Rush The Show,” in 1987. His messages addressed weighty issues about race, rage and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before. The group’s subsequent seven albums were released over the next 13 years, all meeting with critical acclaim from publications as disparate as Time and The Source, and worldwide sales in the millions. At the close of 1999, The New York Times named Public Enemy’s music to their list of the “25 Most Significant Albums of the Last Century” and in 2005 The Library of Congress included Fear of a Black Planet in a list of 50 recordings worthy of preserving that year in their National Recording Registry. Most recently, Spin magazine chose two PE albums for their “100 Greatest Albums (1985-2005)” list, with It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back coming in at #2 (sandwiched between Radiohead and Nirvana) and Fear of a Black Planet at #21.
The numbers that reflect their extraordinary career are staggering: The band has embarked on over 33 tours, performing over 1200 concerts to fans in 40 countries. Three albums are certified multi-platinum, three more are gold, with four gold singles and a platinum-selling home video.
The critical and commercial success of Public Enemy opened the doors for Chuck to deliver his message through a number of different mediums, extending his reach to all segments of the population. He has hosted his own segment on the Fox News Channel, published a best-selling autobiography, “Fight The Power,” is a highly-sought after speaker on the college lecture circuit (lecturing at the universities ranging from Harvard to Howard), has been a prominent member of music industry non-profit organizations MusicCares and Rock The Vote (which honored him with the Patrick Lippert Award in 1996 for his contributions to community service) and started the record label SlamJamz. He served as national spokesperson for Rock The Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance of African American Athletes, and appeared in public service announcements for HBO’s campaign for national peace and Partnership for a Drug Free America. He is also a regular guest on numerous television shows including Nightline, Politically Incorrect and CNN. In 2004, Chuck joined the ambitious liberal radio network Air America as a co-host of his own show, and currently helms a weekend program, On Tha Real.
Along the way, Chuck co-hosted an episode of the lauded PBS series on the Blues, created by Martin Scorsese. More recently, he has taken on work in film and television. He has done voiceover work for Powerade, Sirius Satellite Radio, the NFL, Nike, the play-by-play announcing on the NBA Ballers: Chosen One video game (Midway) and the critically-acclaimed Watts-Stax documentary. He also wrote the theme to ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball show, as well as the 2003 ESPY Awards and hosted the network’s documentary Ali Rap in 2006, which was nominated for several Sports Emmys including one for his theme song composition. He was the host of a 2006 Sundance television special, Chuck D’s Musicians Studio, where he interviewed Quincy Jones at length.
He is about to publish a third book, continues to tour with Public Enemy, personally runs the record label SlamJamz, is booked to deliver keynote addresses and sits on panels at over a dozen conventions this year alone, and appears as a guest lecturer at colleges across the country.