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CHUCK D

Artist profile

Carlton Douglas Ridenhour a.k.a. Chuck D

Born August 1, 1960 in Long Island, New York, U.S.

“Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps”

As the founder of Public Enemy, Chuck D. is one of the most colossal figures in the history of Hip Hop, not to mention its most respected intellectual. He redefined Hip Hop as music with a message, and his strident radicalism ushered in an era when rap was closely scrutinized for its content; although rap’s primary concerns have changed over the years, its status as America’s most controversial art form has only gotten stronger since Public Enemy hit the scene. Chuck D. was born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Roosevelt, Long Island, on August 1, 1960. His parents were both political activists, and he was a highly intelligent student, turning down an architecture scholarship to study graphic design at Long Island’s Adelphi University. While in school, he put his talents to use making promotional flyers for Hip Hop events, and went on to co-host a Hip Hop mix show on the campus radio station with two future Public Enemy cohorts, Bill Stephney and Hank Shocklee. Under the name Chuckie D, he rapped on Shocklee’s demo recording, “Public Enemy No. 1,” which caught the interest of Rick Rubin at Def Jam. In response, the now simply named Chuck D. assembled Public Enemy, a group designed to support the force of his rhetoric with noisy, nearly avant-garde soundscapes.

Chuck D 1987. Photo by Janette Beckman

Chuck D 1987. Photo by Janette Beckman

Public Enemy debuted in 1987 with Yo! Bum Rush the Show, a dry run for one of the greatest three-album spans in Hip Hop history. Released in 1988, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was acclaimed by many critics as the greatest Hip Hop album of all time, and was instrumental in breaking rap music to white, alternative rock audiences. Fear of a Black Planet (1990) and its follow-up, Apocalypse ’91…The Enemy Strikes Black, consolidated Public Enemy’s position as the most important rap group of its time. There were storms of controversy along the way, most notably Chuck D.’s endorsement of the polarizing Muslim minister Louis Farrakhan, and group member Professor Griff’s highly publicized anti-Semitic slurs. But on the whole, Public Enemy’s groundbreaking body of work established Chuck D. as one of the most intelligent, articulate spokesmen for the black community. He became an in-demand speaker on the college lecture circuit (much like his peer KRS-One), and was frequently invited to provide commentary on TV news programs.

Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess AgeMuse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age (1994) found the group’s status slipping, and the following year Chuck put PE on hiatus while planning its next move. In the meantime, he released his first solo album, The Autobiography of Mistachuck, in 1996, and published the book version of his autobiography the following year. He reconvened Public Enemy for the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s 1998 film, He Got Game, and the following year left Def Jam over the label’s refusal to allow him to distribute Public Enemy music via free Internet downloads. Signing with the web-based Atomic Pop label, Chuck became an outspoken advocate of MP3 technology and made 1999’s There’s a Poison Goin’ On… the first full-length album by a major artist to be made available over the Internet (it was later released on CD as well).

He continued his lecturing into the new millennium and made regular appearances on the Fox News Channel as a commentator. Even if Public Enemy never recaptures the popularity or vitality of its glory years, Chuck D.’s legacy is secure enough to keep him a respected voice on the American cultural landscape. (Artist Biography by Steve Huey | Allmusic.com)

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Official site:  Public Enemy | Twitter:  @MrChuckD

Source: allmusic.com

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Discography

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Movies

Godfathers and Sons

Godfathers and Sons

Director Marc Levin travels to Chicago with hip-hop legend Chuck D (from Public Enemy) and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess and heir to ...

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Straight Outta L.A.

Straight Outta L.A.

In 1982, Raiders owner Al Davis beat the NFL in court and moved his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. With a squad as colorful as its owner,...

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Copyright Criminals

Copyright Criminals

Copyright Criminals examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, ...

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Mixtape, Inc.

Mixtape, Inc.

Featuring Kanye West, Chuck D., Gnarls Barkley and many other red-hot hip-hoppers, director Walter Bell's documentary takes you behind the s...

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Public Enemy - Live From  Metropolis Studios

Public Enemy - Live From Metropolis Studios

On August 6, 2014, Hip-Hop legends Public Enemy performed at London's world-renowned Metropolis Studios in the most intimate gig of their ca...

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Hard 'N Heavy Volume 16

Hard 'N Heavy Volume 16

Video magazine with interviews and video clips. Featured on this volume is: Skid Row, Nirvana, Public Enemy, Tin Machine, Thin Lizzy, Alice...

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The Untold Story of Detroit Hip Hop

The Untold Story of Detroit Hip Hop

"The Untold Story of Hip-Hop" Narrated by Chuck D. Tells the colorful true stories of the people, places and sounds behind the mainstream na...

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Mr. Dynamite - The Rise of James Brown

Mr. Dynamite - The Rise of James Brown

James Brown changed the face of American music forever. Abandoned by his parents at an early age, James Brown was a self-made man who becam...

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Rock Rubber 45s

Rock Rubber 45s

A cinematic odyssey exploring the connectivity of global basketball, sneaker, and music lifestyle through the firsthand lens of authentic NY...

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Heights Girl

Heights Girl

A preacher's daughter from the middle class suburb of Cleveland Heights deals with love and drama as she dates a bad boy from the rough side...

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Prince: A Purple Reign

Prince: A Purple Reign

Part of BBC Four's Black Music Legends of the 1980s, this documentary explores how Prince - showman, artist, enigma - revolutionized the per...

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Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Gil Scott-Heron was one of the most influential musicians and poets of the last 50 years. In Don Letts's documentary, Gil tells his own stor...

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The King

The King

A cultural portrait of the American dream at a critical time in the nation’s history. Set against the 2016 American election, The King tak...

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Left of the Dial

Left of the Dial

A documentary look at the troubled first year of liberal talk radio start up Air America and its slate of hosts, including Al Franken, Rache...

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Grass Is Greener

Grass Is Greener

Weed. Marijuana. Grass. Pot. Whatever you prefer to call it, America’s relationship with cannabis is a complicated one. In his directorial...

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Hidden Colors 5: The Art of Black Warfare

Hidden Colors 5: The Art of Black Warfare

The history of warfare as it relates to global Black society, broken down into 7 chapters that examines the ways the system of racism wages ...

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The Black Candle

The Black Candle

The origins of Kwanzaa and the seven principles upon which the pan-African holiday derives its meaning are explored in this fascinating docu...

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Fuck

Fuck

A documentary on the expletive's origin, why it offends some people so deeply, and what can be gained from its use....

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Lightning in a Bottle

Lightning in a Bottle

On February 7th, 2003, renowned artists across multiple music genres and generations commandeered the stage at New York City's Radio City Mu...

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Impact Video Magazine

Impact Video Magazine

Counter-culture video magazine created by Stuart Shapiro, featuring Bill Hicks, Robert Williams, Public Enemy, Butthole Surfers, Survival Re...

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Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote 

Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote 

Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote is an emotionally charged urban drama about a good girl whose best friend is murdered just before graduation. She ...

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And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop

And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop

The film documents the development of hip hop culture since its inception in the 1970s. With interviews from various figures in the communit...

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An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn

Filmmaker Alan Smithee finds himself the unwilling puppet of a potentially bad, big budget action film which he proceeds to steal the reels ...

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The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique

The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique

Immortal Technique emerged from prison a changed man. As his inner journey continues he travels the world promoting a revolution of consciou...

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All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humbl...

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Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie

Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie

While Ron Burgundy's rivalry with Veronica Corningstone escalates quickly, a group of unprofessional thieves better known as 'The Alarm Cloc...

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Anthem

Anthem

When twenty-six-year-olds Shainee Gabel and Kristin Hahn quit their Hollywood jobs, packed up a borrowed car and hit the road, it was with t...

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G-Funk

G-Funk

G-Funk is the untold story of three childhood friends from East Long Beach who helped commercialize hip hop by developing a sophisticated an...

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Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP is a feature length performance documentary about the runaway juggernaut that is Rap music. At the wh...

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Survivor's Guide to Prison

Survivor's Guide to Prison

Today, you're more likely to go to prison in the United States than anywhere else in the world. So in the unfortunate case it should happen ...

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Beef

Beef

A documentary on the evolution of MC battles from verbal one-upmanship to street warfare....

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