Chuck D – Give We The Pride ft. Mavis Staples (Official Video)
Chuck D continues to rule. The Public Enemy leader comes to Chicago to hang out with Mavis Staples and to showcase 2120 South Michigan Avenue, the former home of Chess Records. Also featured prominently in the video is Tribune/Sound Opinions critic Greg Kot’s Mavis biography, I’ll Take You There. Chuck’s new album, The Black In Man, is available now via Rap Central Station.
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is not my absolute favorite Public Enemy album. That honor goes to Fear of a Black Planet. But as a music fan, I fully understand the importance and awesomeness of Nation of Millions. It’s an amazing album, and everything Public Enemy has done since then will be judged in reference to it.
So I was excited when I heard that PE would be performing the album in its entirety as part of Pitchfork‘s “Don’t Look Back” night that celebrates classic albums.
Then again, Public Enemy is not the same group it was the last time I saw them in concert: at some weird parking structure venue in Pontiac, Michigan, in support of Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black. Chuck D is as righteous as ever, but Flavor Flav has undergone a very public fall from grace with the drug busts in the 90s and the reality television over the past several years. Additionally, Terminator X has retired and the Bomb Squad does not perform live with the group.
Time Out Chicago talks to Public Enemy founder/producer Hank Shocklee about the formation of the group: Shock on the system.
Our library was ridiculous. We would pull out breaks from the Turtles, Alabama and Level 42. We were just looking for anything that had that kind of hip-hop kind of vibration. Hip-hop was not a particular style of music, but a vibration. One thing that’s happened today, people look at hip-hop as a style of music. Anything that gave you that hip-hop feel was game–classical, jazz, country, folk. People don’t even know, Sesame Street had the biggest hip-hop record before hip-hop. “C is for Cookie” had a break in the middle of it. We would get two copies and rock that like crazy.
Am I just being nostalgic or does this song kick ass? The horns, especially, sound great. And something about Chuck’s voice immediately makes me hopeful and sad and excited and angry for the current state of hip-hop, music, and the world in general. Chuck D for President!