The Quotable Chuck D, Part III

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Chuck D visited the main branch of Akron’s public library Wednesday, May 23, as part of its excellent series of free lectures. The introduction described his hip-hop squad, Public Enemy, as “arguably the most important rap group in history.” At the turn of the millennium, Chuck retreated from the major-label record business. PE was once an MVP on Def Jam’s early roster, the political engine of the hit factory, rounding a roster featuring Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J. In recent years, he’s concentrated on running his own digital-based label, SlamJamz [www.slamjamz.com ]. After 58 musical and speaking tours of the world, he’s currently moving around the county to promote his latest book, Chuck D: Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary. The Quotable Chuck D, Part Three of Three: Reality On the role of athletes in the black community: “Celebrity is the drug of America.” On looks vs. substance: “There’s a lot of people frontin’ based on how they look.” On politics and geography: “The whole country is governed by New York, LA, and D.C. Beltway politics. And the rest of the country, you might as well be a country bumpkin.” On the underappreciated value of “stupid”: “I say ‘stupid’ because we don’t use that word enough. You say ‘Yo, you’ stupid, dawg,’ and they’ll either get flustered or get their act together.” On teens as young adults: “We cannot have a 15-year-old person making up their own rules about what life is about.” On money and race: “Nowhere in the world can you take money with a black face on it and exchange it equally for money with a white person on it.” On personal political activism: “Demand your right to make your existence better.” On America’s isolationist tendencies: “The best American is a citizen of the world.” On the environment: “You don’t get two planets. Jack this one up, and it’s a wrap.” On Ohio citizens: “That’s one thing I like about people in Ohio: They’re down-to-earth.” Click here for The Quotable Chuck D, Part I: On Rap Click here for The Quotable Chuck D, Part II: On Race -- D.X. Ferris
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