What makes Chuck D’s new solo album “Celebration of Ignorance” (SpitSlam) so powerful is that it doesn’t just offer complaints, but also solutions.
Of course, the Roosevelt rapper, who credits this album to Chuck D as Mistachuck, doesn’t pull any punches. He offers two versions of “TiredOf45,” where he disses President Donald Trump and praises LeBron James, chanting, “LeBron building schools, 45 building walls.”
There are throwbacks to Public Enemy’s heyday, but Mistachuck also tries different styles, letting old-school soul create a warm mood or the hard-hitting alt-punk trio Wakrat, featuring his Prophets of Rage pal bassist Tim Commerford, helping him thrash things out in “Ain’t No.”
“I’m locked in a certain era,” Chuck says in the liner notes, where he also announces a 2019 tour. “So what? It feels good. I over-stand that styles change but the sound remains. Although I support the entire journey of hip-hop from 1973 up to this very minute, the breath of fresh air I enjoy is the freedom of creating songs with no time constraint.”
Though his takes on technology (“BOT”) and climate change (“MutterERT”) are insightful as ever, the inspiring “Blacknificent” ranks among his best songs. “At the age I’m now, if I can’t teach, I shouldn’t even open my mouth to speak,” he rhymes, before advising, “Open up your eyes, be about something. Our significance is infinite.”
TBS is ‘Ready to Go’
Taking Back Sunday’s new single “All Ready to Go” (Craft), from the Long Beach-based band’s upcoming retrospective “Twenty” to commemorate its 20th anniversary, serves as a great bridge between its past and its future.
Adam Lazzara and John Nolan trade vocal lines like they did back in the “Tell All Your Friends” days. And Mark O’Connell drops in some drum fills that could have come from “Timberwolves at New Jersey,” though he also teams up with bassist Shaun Cooper to offer a nod to the band’s love of Tom Petty. The combination shows a lot of promise for the band’s follow-up to the hard-rocking “Tidal Wave,” but also a respect for their roots as they get ready to mount a global tour next year.
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Speaking of roots, Taking Back Sunday has also released a pretty faithful and cool version of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” for the “Songs That Saved My Life” compilation to raise money for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
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