Chuck D (real name Carl Ridenhour) made a massive impact on African-American culture as the frontman of Public Enemy. He was part of the concerted effort in the 1980s to challenge authority through music and has managed to cement his place in the hip-hop history books as one of the greats. Chuck D’s a certified pioneer.
Not only did Ridenhour capture the world with his poignant political messages, but the rapper also sparked an intense wave of social consciousness across the globe that, in many places, culminated in positive change.
Since the 2000s, Chuck D has dedicated himself to educating the world about the history and importance of African-American music. He has chronicled the soundtrack of social change in America and devoted much of his time to highlighting the musicians and movements that changed the course of history.
In 2022, Ridenhour sat down with the National Museum Of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to deliver an oral history of black music and detail how the music influenced his early life and career. The seminar entitled Songs That Shook the Planet saw the ‘Fight The Power’ act celebrate Black Music Month by listing some of the most impactful tracks released in his lifetime.
As well as listing some of the hardest-hitting tracks of the past 50 years, the lyricist also spoke about how hip-hop and other genres, such as soul and R’n’B, have evolved and how the music industry has shifted concerning streaming and award shows.
Below you can see the full list of Chuck D’s ‘Songs That Shook The Planet.’
Chuck D’s ‘Songs That Shook The Planet’:
- Billie Holiday – ‘Strange Fruit’
- Curtis Mayfield – ‘People Get Ready’
- Sam Cooke – ‘A Change is Gonna Come’
- Edwin Starr – ‘War Live’
- Marvin Gaye – ‘What’s going On?’
- Stevie Wonder – ‘Living For The City’
- Bob Marley – ‘Get Up, Stand Up’
- The Special AKA – ‘Nelson Mandela’