Tag: Chuck D

New Video: Public Enemy Teams Up with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, and JAHI on an Updated Rendition of “Fight the Power”

Last week Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flava Flav and DJ Lord — released a fiery DJ Premier-produced anti-Trump banger, “State of the Union (STFU),” a track that simultaneously continues the act’s long-held reputation for hard-hitting politically charged work, and their legendary frontman’s reputation for addressing and challenging Trump’s policies and rhetoric. 

Last night, the legendary hip-hop act helped kick off the 20th Annual BET Awards with an updated rendition of their seminal anthem “Fight The Power,” that features guest verses from a who’s who list of dope emcees that includes Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. 30+ years  have passed since its original release and the members of Public Enemy are middle aged but the song is still relevant, necessary and power — and will be until there’s equity and equality for all. 

The video which features each of the performers in various locations is intercut with protest footage. The clothing may have changed a little bit but the protests and the sentiment is still the same: BLACK LIVES MATTER! 

New Video: Public Enemy and DJ Premier Team Up for a Fiery Anti-Trump Banger

Public Enemy’s legendary frontman Chuck D. has addressed Trump’s policies and rhetoric over the past several years with through his work as a  solo artist and with Prophets of Rage. Recently Chuck D. reunited with Flava Flav on the DJ Premier-produced single “State of the Union (STFU).”

Sonically, the track is dope, golden era hip-hop: DJ Premier’s soulful yet tweeter and woofer rocking production paired with Chuck D and Flav spitting righteous (and necessary) fire. And unsurprisingly, the track is an unflinching statement on the destruction and divisiveness the current administration has unleashed on the country, its people and the rest of the world. Continuing the act’s long-held reputation for speaking truth to power, “State of the Union (STFU)” urges the listener to fight against racism, injustice and oppression with their voices — and most importantly their vote. (If you’re not registered to vote, your informed vote is needed to get rid of this administration. Please register and then vote like your life depends on it — because it does.)

“Our collective voices keep getting louder. The rest of the planet is on our side. But it’s not enough to talk about change. You have to show up and demand change,” says Chuck D. “Folks gotta vote like their lives depend on it, ‘cause it does.” “Public Enemy tells it like it is,” added Flavor Flav. “It’s time for him to GO.”

Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the recently released, David C. Snyder-directed video was, according to Public Enemy was shot “in secret, in the dead of the night.” It’s split between footage of the members of Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flavor Flav and DJ Lord — in an abandoned factory space, and on the streets; DJ Premier doing this thing; and of course recent imagery of riots and unrest and division. 

Live Footage: Rising South African Rapper Yugen Blakrok Performing “Ochre (Emerald Mix)” and “Picture Box” for La Bouclette TV

La Bouclette TV is a new French-based music media outlet founded by and carried by the efforts of a team of passionate people — cameramen, editors, sound engineers and journalists, who aim to produce authentic live footage with a polished aesthetic that highlight both emerging and established artists. Last year, the La Bouclette team invited rising Johannesburg, South Africa-based rapper Yugen Blakrok to perform some material off her most recent effort, the critically applauded Anima Mysterium, an effort that named one of the best hip-hop albums of 2019 by a number of media outlets. 

Over the past decade, the rising South African emcee has been a vital and hardworking member of the South African hip-hop scene for the past decade, gaining recognition through a number of features and live shows, and for a sound that mixed sci-fi  and trip hop inspired soundscapes with boom-bap beats and melodic melodies paired with Blakrok’s Lauryn Hill-like flow. She caught the attention of indie label Iapetus Records, home of artists like Robo, Hymphatic Thabs and Fifi the Raiblaster, who signed her in 2009. And as soon as she signed to the label, she teamed up with Sampletologists Kanif the Jhatmaster, starting a successful collaboration that began with a number of attention-grabbing singles and her full-length debut, 2013’s Return of Astro-Goth, an effort that was released to critical applause internationally and was championed by Chuck D and Sage Francis. 

Building upon a growing profile, Return of Astro-Goth received helped Blakrok receive three SA Hip-Hop Award nominations in 2014 — Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer and Best Female Artist categories. Since then she has toured across the European Union several times, opening for MC Lyte during her German and Swiss tour dates; Pete Rock and CL Smooth during their Denmark tour; Edo G during his Austrian tour; and Kemp (a.k.a. Little Ugly Mane) during his Czech Republic tour. In her native South Africa, she’s shared stages with Public Enemy, Sage Francis and Jeru the Damaja. She’s also been featured on several international collaborations, most notably on Kendrick Lamar’s curated Black Panther soundtrack, in which she contributed an attention-grabbing verse alongside Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar. 

Filmed while the rising South African emcee was in Paris for last year’s MAMA Festival, the Bouclette TV session features the emcee performing the atmospheric, Portishead-like album tracks “Ochre (Emerald Mix) and “Picture Box” in a warm and intimate setting. And throughout the session, Blakrok firmly cements her reparation for dexterous and sensual flows within mesmerizing and moody soundscapes. 

DJ Devastate was a Helsingborg, Sweden-born producer, turntablist, and DJ, who collaborated with an impressive array of artists including El Da Sensei, Max I Million, DJ Create, Wildchild and MED, Chuck D and others with material being released Stateside on Coalmine Records and in his native Sweden through Counterweight Records. Earlier this year, the up-and-coming Swedish-born DJ, turntablist, and producer suddenly and tragically died at the age of 35.

Celebrating his life and his work, Coalmine Records and Counterweight Records teamed up to release a two LP compilation of some of each label’s favorite tracks In Recollection: A Dual Label Anthology. The Counterweight Records side has eight tracks including the Create & Devastate produced “I Rap Black” by Chuck D., Bishop Lamont and Mykill Miers; the Devastate-produced “Riddim Up On Em” and Baby Blak’s “Moves 2 Make;” and his remix of Chapee and Max I Million’s “Feel It.” The Coalmine side has five tracks, including the Devastate-produced “Show Stoppa” by El Da Sensei; the Max I Million remix of C.L. Smooth and Skyzoo’s “Perfect Timing,” which features Devastate’s turntablism; J57′s remix of “Show Stoppa;” Create & Devastate’s “Most Confident;” and the compilation’s latest single, the fifth on the Coalmine side, the posthumously released “Crime After Crime,” which features Illa Ghee spitting gritty and menacing bars over a Devastate beat centered around chopped up Biggie samples of “Suicidal Thoughts” and “Sky’s the Limit” bolstered by thumping 808s and Devastate’s scratching.

Sometimes compilations are typically sad affairs — especially in light of the tragic, too soon death of an up-and-coming artist, this particular track and the compilation is a reminder of the Swedish DJ, turnbalist and producer’s immense talent and what the hip-hop world will sorely miss.