Chuck D wants more people to understand hip-hop.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer from Roosevelt, who is currently working in both Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage, says he developed his new book, “Chuck D Presents This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History” (Black Dog & Leventhal), as a way to serve the genre and its roots.
“I wanted to approach it the way Steven Van Zandt approaches rock,” Chuck says. “We need to get it more reverence.”
His approach for the book is fairly straightforward, collecting many of the most important dates in hip-hop history in one place, while also offering his opinion about some of the genre’s most important acts.
“Jay-Z brought a lyrical dexterity to the street reality of the Clinton-era 1990s,” Chuck writes in the entry for June 25, the day Jay’s debut “Reasonable Doubt” was released. “His ‘Three Card Molly’ vocal delivery was so witty, with the brutal reality of the lyrics laced with clever rhymes that gave them an edge of comedy.”
Chuck says because the opinions on social media are shaping the world view of hip-hop, he felt he needed to compile a book of facts cementing the genre’s history.
“We need to wrestle it away from the corporate definition,” he says. “You’ve got to learn from somebody.”