Chuck D is a pioneer and a legend in hip-hop. As a founder of the iconic collective Public Enemy, Chuck D (real name Carl Ridenhour) spearheaded one of the cardinal politically inclined rap groups. Known as the first culturally aware rap musicians, the New York group mobilised African-Americans with their conscious lyrics and were one of the first acts to use their music as a vehicle for social commentary in the 1980s.
As the frontman of Public Enemy, Ridenhour made many impactful songs. From ‘Fight The Power’ to ‘By The Time I Get To Arizona’, he has been at the forefront of hip-hop culture for over three decades. Chuck D has addressed all kinds of issues with his tracks and has highlighted a vast array of problems concerning America’s government and social justice system.
Since the 1980s, Ridenhour has garnered criticism from mainstream media outlets for his anti-establishment, rebellious music. However, he has also documented and chronicled the evolution of hip-hop since he first fell in love with it in the late 1970s. Earlier this year, Chuck D published his graphic novel, Summer of Hamn; a graffiti-style depiction of gun violence in America.
However, prior to his endeavours as an illustrator and author, Chuck D had an interview with i-D magazine to speak about his favourite songs of all time. When asked by journalist Ian McQuaid about songs that remind him of having his heart broken, Ridenhour cited two songs, responding, “Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, ‘The Love I Lost.’ I mean, that’s obvious, right? How ’bout ‘I Loved and I Lost’ by Curtis Mayfield?”
When asked, “What song reminds you of your kids?”, Ridenhour replied, “‘Everything’ by Public Enemy, because being a father humbles you. This song is about when you’re trying to look for things that you want to have, that you might already have in a form that can’t be topped or matched.”
He continued, “Your son’s laughter, his breath, his light, his smile, him calling you his father, and you realize that’s pretty much everything. There’s nothing that can top that. Even when your kids are driving you to the tenth wheel, you’re like, ‘Man, it doesn’t get better than this.'” You can listen to ‘Everything’ by Public Enemy below.