Sunday, April 14 | 10:00AM
UCLA School of Law | Room 1347
Leader and co-founder of legendary group Public Enemy, social activist, author and digital music pioneer, Chuck D rose to acclaim in the 1980’s with a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums that addressed weighty issues about race, rage and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before.
The New York Times has named Public Enemy’s music to their list of the “25 Most Significant Albums of the Last Century” and in 2005 The Library of Congress included Fear of a Black Planet in a list of 50 recordings worthy of preserving that year in their National Recording Registry. In 2013, Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2015, Public Enemy’s “Say It Like It Really Is” provided the powerful backbeat to the trailer for the critically-acclaimed film, Selma, and “Harder Than You Think” was selected for NBC’s official Super Bowl XLIX commercial after being the cornerstone of the 2012 Paralympics campaign (which drove the song into the UK Top 5). When the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC began curating its archive, the group was asked to donate iconic items from their history.
Chuck D is also a visual artist, a best-selling author (including 2017’s 300-page “This Day In Rap and Hip Hop History”), a highly-sought after speaker on the college lecture circuit, has been a prominent member of music industry non-profit organizations MusicCares and Rock The Vote (which honored him with the Patrick Lippert Award in 1996 for his contributions to community service), runs his own record label, SpitSlam, and launched the websites Rapstation.com, HipHopGods.com and SheMovement.com. He has served as national spokesperson for Rock The Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance of African American Athletes. In 2018, Chuck was named the Chairman of the Celebrity Board for the forthcoming Universal Hip Hop Museum in New York.
Chuck has co-hosted an episode of the lauded PBS series on the Blues, created by Martin Scorsese, and the critically-acclaimed Watts-Stax documentary. He also wrote the theme song to ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball show, as well as the 2003 ESPY Awards and hosted the network’s documentary Ali Rap in 2006, which was nominated for several Sports Emmys including one for his theme song composition. Public Enemy’s song, “Harder Than You Think,” was used as the theme song to the MLB Network’s 2013 baseball season coverage and Chuck, along with Amani K. Smith, composed and contributed additional music to LeBron James’ Showtime docu-series, “Shut Up And Dribble” in 2018. He was the host of a 2006 Sundance television special, Chuck D’s Musicians Studio, where he interviewed Quincy Jones at length, returned to the network for an episode of Iconoclasts with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and was an executive producer of their lauded Dream School series (2014).
In June 2016, Chuck debuted Prophets of Rage, a new “supergroup” with former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, Cypress Hill’s B-Real and DJ Lord of Public Enemy. Noisey hailed the group’s debut concert as “how powerful angst-ridden social commentary sounds when done correctly,” and Entertainment Weekly declared that “Chuck D takes the stage amid the sound of sirens signaling a state of emergency…The 2016 Presidential Race has been their Bat Signal.” The Prophets of Rage have toured the globe since then, as well as released a self-titled album in 2017.