Chuck D rapped over 20 years ago about being a “Rebel Without A Pause”. In 2010, at age 50, he still means it.
Smartly staying out of the public eye and relying on a “do-it-yourself” ethic that has become more the rule rather than the exception, Chuck D has been remixing the industry for more than a decade. After splitting with Def Jam Records in 1999, Public Enemy took to the internet to continue building their legacy. That legacy is set to be on display in all its revolutionary glory on October 15 with the release of Bring The Noise, The Hits, Vids, and Docs Box: Greatest Sites and Sounds (Chapter 2 1999-2009) box set. Spanning the entirety of the group’s post-Def Jam output, the box set will feature 3 CDs and 3 DVDs of Public Enemy tracks, videos, live performances, and a lot more.
Chuck has also compiled many of his solo songs and side projects in to Don’t Rhyme For The Sake of Riddlin’, his first solo release in 14 years. The band is also currently on the fifth leg of their “Tour of a Black Planet”, which is set to wrap on September 17 before heading to Europe in late October.
Known as fair and square throughout his years, he still growls at the livin’ foul. When we had a chance to talk on the phone on September 7, Chuck was as gracious as a host could be. But he’s still every bit the Rebel... and there’s no slowing down any time soon, much less taking a Pause.
You’ve recently released your first solo record in 14 years, Don’t Rhyme For The Sake of Riddlin’. What led to putting out another solo album? And it’s only available at digital outlets, is that correct?
Don’t Rhyme For The Sake of Riddlin’ isn’t so much a solo album, per se, as it is a solo project. A lot of projects like Confrontation Camp and Fine Arts Militia are included in this, as well as a lot of other work I’ve done in the last 10 years. I’ve recorded songs for ESPN [”Get Used To Me”, for a Muhammad Ali tribute] and done several others throughout the last 10 years; Don’t Rhyme For The Sake of Riddlin’ collects all that together. If this were to be a physical release, I probably wouldn’t have done it.
We’re in an age where we can deliver now without the hindrance of the business side of things. As it is now, I tend to make songs one at a time. The album concept was beautiful back then, but music has been a singles-driven medium for the last 10 years. I see something happening in the world, I can write a song about it and have it out there almost instantly.