this is the 2nd half of an interview Chuck D done for hiphopdx
DX: Speaking of, you just did on March 2nd via Twitter [@MrChuckD]. I gotta ask you about your tweet, “Ye is a Hip Hop God as Jay is, but their bases are corrupt to Rap.” Were you saying their fanbases, their corporate bases, or both?
Chuck D: Their corporate bases are corrupt to Rap.
I mean, why would you think any different? Listen man, in any kind of business what you want is fair trade. This is what people lobby for, this is what people protest for, fair trade. And fair trade is actually saying that, Alright, you have somebody who comes up in a local [scene], at least they should be heard on local radio. But corporate radio and corporations have dominated over that existence, wiping out that foundation [for fairness]. And therefore the little business can’t even start up right, unless it’s corrupt and just totally, violently opposed to what the community is evolved from. So you gotta be national to even make it locally, where you should be local to make it locally. And even down to speaking to a school or whatever, if the local artists at the top of the local pack aren’t revered as being some sort of heroes, then who you gonna get to talk to the kids at the schools and all that? You gotta wait for a national hero, who might never come? So, too many people are focused on national [artists] who never will come in front of their own eyes and face on a one-on-one relationship. It’s almost like people are screaming at a dream.
In the past you would have somebody from the local are who would actually give advice, give inspiration, be able to be some sort of benchmark for people to follow if they wanted to do the same thing. So that has been totally eradicated as far as the community is concerned, destroyed by urban corporate radio, which means … take the Black ownership out. And also destroyed by the corporation of recording situations which kind of like dominate over those radio stations.
And over television. Somebody does an independent video, they can’t get it on Viacom networks, unless they deliver it with closed caption, high-definition, and also it has to be sanctioned, it has to be agreed upon. It’s a game, so … the Internet is an ally, and it’s supplementary, but it could never be a main venue for your local survival.
DX: I wanna get more into that discussion about corporate control here in a minute, but I do have one more question regarding that tweet I asked you about. You additionally tweeted that Kanye and Jay’s song, “Ngs in Paris appeals to who? Black folk in France? USA White kids? Black kids who probably never learn further about it, perhaps never go there?” Can you elaborate on that tweet for me a little bit?
Chuck D: I think it’s self-explanatory; it’s more like a statement. It’s like, appeals to who? It’s also a question, maybe you can fill it [in]? ‘Cause it’s like, Black kids who would never know about a Paris or a France … “Niggas In Paris” means what? Who’s happy about that at the end of the day? Niggas in Paris? [Laughs] Is that what they saying? Or, White people in the United States who are happy to just say, “Well, yeah, there’s a bunch of niggas in Paris”? You tell me. I mean, don’t ask me, tell me. What do you think?
DX: I just presume that they – This is a presumption, obviously, that Kanye and Jay thought that was a progressive statement in some way.
Chuck D: Alright, in what way? I mean, it ain’t like you in fifth grade, maybe you can tell me.
DX: Just that – I think you actually had a [Twitter] follower tweet you something to the extent of that he was inspired by the song, that it made him think he could be in Paris someday too I guess, I don’t know.
Chuck D: Well don’t say you don’t know. Either you know or you don’t. I mean, I’m just saying, it’s like, what do you think? This is what I’m saying, I just put out a tweet that was just like saying, Okay, now where do you wanna really sit with this? When does it get to a point where – It doesn’t allow us to be like bi-polar with it, like, “Oh yeah, I don’t wanna be called no nigga in anything, but at the same time I can be a nigga in Paris.”
And I’m not even trying to get deep on the issue other than the fact that there are plenty of other songs that get no light, at all, on these same radio stations because of “Niggas In Paris.” So the best answer was probably Yasiin Bey, a/k/a Mos Def’s response, “Niggas In Poorest.” Maybe that should be played as much, right?
So, I think they’re Hip Hop Gods, but at the same time it’s like I don’t think you can be 35 and 40 years old and just pretend to be 12 and 15. C’mon now. [Sighs] What do you think?
DX: I’m as frustrated as you are, honestly.
Chuck D: I mean, I’m not mad at them, I’m happy that they’re great artists. But at the same time, I’m always gonna be mad at the machine. I’m always gonna be angry at corporations. And I’m always gonna be angry at people that show off their money to the poor and the growing poor in America and across the world. That’s just how I am. And people can say that’s bitter, but why wouldn’t I be angry at that? I know I’m privileged, but I’m just totally, totally against somebody showing off riches to the poor. It goes against every fuckin’ storybook tale that we’ve learned since kindergarten. Robin Hood robbed from the rich and gave to the poor and was a hero. How the fuck you gonna rob from the poor and be the rich and be a hero? It just doesn’t make any damn sense.
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