Searching For Chuck D? -- by Angus Crawford, November 2006
If you listen closely to Public Enemy’s "Bring the Noise" remix with Anthrax you can hear the rapper saying "Where are you Chuck D?". Its not Chuck D on the record but it fooled plenty of people and was good enough to be on 1991's "Apocalypse Now".
Fortunately we knew where Chuck was at the time and songs like "When I Get Back to Arizona", "Can’t Truss It" and "Shut ‘Em Down" reassured us that Mister Chuck could still bring it on M-I-C. Now fifteen years later it is a lot harder to find the man. You would think that if Chuck was in the country or on the planet we would know how much he dislikes Flavor of Love.
How could the same man who made "Rebel Without A Pause" sit back and watch not one but two seasons of Flavor of Love without making a loud protest? PE music is about fighting the power and not succumbing to the power of Viacom and the dollars they offer. Some comments were made on the "Rebirth of a Nation" album about the VH1's exploitation of Flav, but those listeners pale in comparison to the Flavor of Love audience. Chuck knows less people are getting their message now, so he must know a few lines on an obscure album are not enough.
While PE is having a hard time getting new listeners, Flavor watching his fame soar and is even releasing his first solo album soon. In fact Flavor is becoming more famous for Flavor of Love and his other past "reality" shows that his contributions to PE could eventually become nothing more than a footnote in biography. And Chuck D is supposed to be cool with all that?
Other than Run DMC, Public Enemy could be the most important group in hip hop history and more people are learning about Flavor Flav and his banter with New Yotk than anything Chuck D was spitting on It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. There is no way he knows what is happening, because the Chuck D everyone knows would not stand for that. He would have a website or some mainstream article bashing how the show is bad for hip hop and just generally bad for people to watch.
Maybe he is just happy Flava is making some money and can take care of his family. After all, no one should hate on a rapper for getting into acting for some extra money. Will Smith, LL Cool J, and Ice T can put their grandchildren’s children through college with the money they earned acting. All have made more money than Flavor does for his acting job and none of them compromised their integrity in the same way. Its one thing for Ice Cube to go from "No Vaseline" to "Are We There Yet" but far different for Flavor Flav and the PE legacy to go from "Night of the Living Baseheads" to a mixture of The Bachelor, Jerry Springer and Sheneneh.
Chuck, where are you? Never mind, I just saw a commercial for Ice T’s rap school promising a performance from Public Enemy. At least VH1 knows where you are.