Before Chuck D was the inimitable power behind Public Enemy, he was a baby of the ’60s. Naturally, he grew up on psychedelic rock and different common music on the time similar to The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. As a end result, the 58-year-old Hip Hop legend has an affinity for music from that interval.
“I grew up within the ’60s and ’70s, so these information have been on the radio,” he says. “Matter of reality, a number of these Hip Hop producers grew up on all these songs that made them extra Hip Hop. Grandmaster Flash — all these guys do rock. Everything comes out of the blues anyway. Johnny Cash isn’t nation. Johnny Cash began out as sort of like rhythm and blues nation with a bit little bit of rock. He made rock out of that.”
Last month, Spotify launched a brand new podcast on The Clash referred to as Stay Free: The Story of The Clash, which is narrated completely by Chuck D. Boasting eight episodes, the sequence gave the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer an opportunity to flex his deep musical data and revisit a bygone period.
Bill Stephney — who performed an integral position in advertising and marketing Public Enemy as political titans within the early days – thought Public Enemy might turn into The Clash of Hip Hop.
“Bill labored with another music station in Long Island, which was influential in bringing The Clash to New York,” he explains. “And so it was Bill’s thought to see if Public Enemy may very well be The Clash of Hip Hop. So that’s how we acquired with Stephney. In an space the place music appeared to sort of lose itself to affluence … properly, it simply acquired in a content material degree of marketed decadence.
“The Clash survived all that. They have been like that is now not for the folks, so we’re gonna must make music for the folks. I feel that’s the place The Clash got here out to be completely completely different than anything ever earlier than.”
Public Enemy’s catalog is peppered with countless rock influences — from Slayer to Deep Purple and all the pieces in between. At the time, it was a daring transfer contemplating most of his friends have been sampling soul and funk information.
“I don’t suppose they have been sufficiently old [for the rock samples],” he says. “We noticed Run-DMC, who introduced us into the trade, because the gateway [to use rock]. We grew up with ’70s AM radio. On our first album, Vernon Reid [of Living Colour] performs on ‘Sophisticated Bitch’ and naturally we teamed up with Anthrax for ‘Bring The Noise.’ To me, an excellent rock album requires quantity, variety and never all the pieces all the time being concerning the guitar.”
In the spirit of The Clash podcast, Chuck D — who’s a self-described “hippie with out the weed” — named among the most influential rock albums on his record, though he couldn’t title simply 10.
Below are 13 albums that made a long-lasting affect on the Prophets Of Rage MC and pioneering Hip Hop luminary.
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (1967)
“Well, it’s Jimi Hendrix [laughs]. It was positively a glance into the great thing about the guitar and it was an excellent entry level for me. I went to a highschool that was heavy in Jimi Hendrix. I come from New York so it was a heavy time for pop, rock and disco. Jimi Hendrix was a giant a part of the tradition.”
Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
“It was my introduction into Pink Floyd as a result of I didn’t actually get them in highschool or get into their later works, which everyone talks about. When I heard this music, I used to be extra clear on the psychedelic homage versus the blues. It was sort of like the start of prog-rock. Tom Morello tried to elucidate the enchantment, however it was past me. The Syd Barrett stuff I dug although. I realized lots about it on my journeys to the U.Ok.”
Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine (1992)
“Myself, B-Real, Tom [Morello], Tim [Commerford] and Brad [Wilk] all occurred to be underneath the Sony umbrella on the time. I had obtained a demo with a cassette field that had a match in it. It caught my consideration. I couldn’t do something with it, however it turned out to be the identical band that later had a cope with Epic. We’re have been all in the identical Sony system on the time. I remembered it [the demo]. I used to be like, ‘Oh these are these dudes?’ It was a wierd package deal thought, however it positively caught my consideration. It was probably the most excellent demo I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Funkadelic – Funkadelic (1970)
“Once once more, this isn’t the primary Funkadelic I used to be uncovered to, however I might let you know in a while after I acquired into Funkadelic, that is the one I listened to probably the most and nonetheless to this present day. I like psychedelic music. Once it was defined to me it was a mixture of funk and psychedelic, that made me get it. It made me perceive.”
The Rolling Stones – Out Of Our Heads (1965)
“The Rolling Stones … properly as children, we didn’t hearken to albums. We listened to pop radio. All these information from their first 10 information have been singles. ‘Satisfaction’ performed on the radio lots and it occurred to be on that album. As black people, we didn’t get into album couture till the ’60s and ’70s with folks like Isaac Hayes or Earth, Wind & Fire.”
Rare Earth – Get Ready (1967)
“Motown put out albums, however they didn’t put out albums for the market place. This was at first of album-oriented artwork beginning to be urbanized. Rare Earth was just like the rock band equal of what Motown tried to achieve. Motown was in Detroit, which was extra of a heavy steel area. Around that point, you had MC5 and other people like Alice Cooper, they have been heavy on their rock. Motown was attempting to become involved. Rare Earth was their equal of attempting to get within the rock realm.
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II (1969)
“They have been radio hits. Later on, Led Zeppelin was an excellent basis for sampling for Beastie Boys and so forth. It was a no brainer due to the facility within the sound and their grooves. [John]Bonham’s drums. [Jimmy] Page’s riffs. Robert Plant’s vocals over [John Paul] Jones’ bass — that they had the correct mixture. They have been an unimaginable sum of all their elements. Even once they’re on their very own, they’re highly effective, however once they got here collectively, it was like god ordained them to come back collectively.”
Rage Against The Machine – Evil Empire (1996)
“The greatest Rage fan out of Public Enemy is Professor Griff. I bear in mind being on tour and him bringing it to me and being like, ‘These brothers, man.’ Songs like ‘Bulls On Parade’ struck me as being highly effective ditties. It appears like a dude with a knife in him. You can’t simply imitate that. It’s completely unique. Same factor with Zack de la Rocha’s vocals and Rage Against The Machine’s energy.
Living Colour – Vivid (1988)
“Vernon Reid began Living Colour. But it’s not simply him. It’s Doug Wimbish, Will Calhoun on drums and you bought Corey Glover who’s an unimaginable vocalist. They are very strong. New York was closely underneath some racial shit that was happening. As Public Enemy was addressing it, Vernon had been speaking about it with the Black Rock Coalition. It was like, ‘black males can play rock, too’ factor. It was an mental group that was going head-on with the stereotypes and politics of the mainstream press on the time.”
The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is sort of like the start of noise rock to me. To me, The Beatles are unbelievable. I grew up on them. One of the primary information I bear in mind is ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by The Beatles. Here you’re a bit boy and also you’re singing, ‘I wish to maintain your hand [sings].’ I used to be about four years outdated when The Beatles got here out. It was strong. It was straightforward to sing. When they ‘broke up’ in 1970, I used to hearken to the radio and their information would play perpetually on pop stations. My favourite one is ‘Let It Be.’ I’ve come to the age the place I additional perceive them. I by no means observed path, I simply knew they have been unimaginable.
The Doors – The Doors (1967)
“Pop radio, once more. Jim Morrison’s vocals are unimaginable. The older I acquired, the extra I understood the parallels in his music. I occurred to be good pals with Jac Holzman who based Elektra.He signed The Doors. He’s given me recommendation with what to do with a boutique label like all the time have enjoyable and don’t get caught within the forms.
Rage Against The Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles (1999)
“It’s Rage. I used to be stunned … look, that was the final album they did. Acts don’t normally get stronger, however they stored getting stronger. Their mosh pits stored getting greater and larger. It was only a completely different machine.”
Body Count – Bloodlust (2017)
“Oh man, Ice-T is the superman of Hip Hop who by no means will get the respect for doing so many progressive issues. When Ice-T touched steel again within the day, everyone was afraid to the touch that. But you needed to carry one thing to the desk — energy, vitality and velocity. You simply can’t fly it in. We touched upon issues with Anthrax and stuff, however when Ice shaped his personal steel band, that was subsequent degree shit. A number of bands who wished to do rap-rock within the ’90s, they hit a wall. He had movie and tv to fall again on, however he nonetheless went at it actually exhausting. To be capable to preserve that vitality at that degree was a bit troublesome for most individuals.”
BONUS: The Clash – London Calling (1979)
“I used to be 17 years outdated when The Clash was sort of identified. Did they’ve an amazing affect on me, no? But they did on Bill [Stephney]. He stated, ‘I feel you might turn into The Clash of Hip Hop.’ It didn’t fall on deaf ears. Although we met in class [Adelphi University], we lived in shut cities. That additionally helped. Songs fill the context of the time they have been in. You might repeat the music or the sounds, however you possibly can’t repeat the occasions. The context is troublesome to elucidate. The feeling of the period is what dictates sound of that magnitude — like with The Clash.”
The subsequent episode of The Clash podcast airs on Spotify this Thursday (March 21).