Tag: Public Enemy

Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ Returns to Theaters to Celebrate 30th Anniversary on June 28

According to deadline.comUniversal Pictures plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s groundbreaking and still-topical film Do the Right Thing with a re-mastered 4K restoration that will hit theaters June 28.

In partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and the Criterion Collection, the re-release will include one-week engagements as well as single-day showtimes June 30 at select AMC, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, and Alamo Drafthouse theaters. There also will be 35mm screenings at select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and Brookline, MA.

“When Spike Lee’s revolutionary Do the Right Thing was released by Universal Pictures 30 years ago this June, it ignited a national conversation on race and race relations in America that challenged our assumptions about ourselves and our country and heralded the arrival of a generation-defining filmmaker,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution.

Set during one sweltering summer day on a block of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the film follows the interactions among neighborhood characters Mookie (Lee), Sal (Danny Aiello), Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), Mister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson), Tina (Rosie Perez), Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito), Jade (Joie Lee), Pino (John Turturro) and Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn). Tensions rise as demands for a black person’s photo be added to the Italians-only Wall of Fame at Sal’s Pizzeria create heated confrontations that ultimately explode into police-instigated violence.

Public Enemy recorded the film’s anthem “Fight The Power,” which remains an influential hip-hop classic to this day (see video below). Lee earned an Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the film, and Aiello earned a Supporting Actor nod.  On July 23, the Criterion Collection also will celebrate the 30th anniversary with a Blu-ray/DVD release of a director-approved definitive edition featuring the new 4K restoration.

R.I.P. Clyde Stubblefield, 73, James Brown’s Legendary ‘Funky Drummer’ 

Clyde Stubblefield (photo via nytimes.com)

article by  via nytimes.com

It took only 20 seconds for Clyde Stubblefield to drum his way to immortality. They came near the end of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” recorded in a Cincinnati studio in late 1969. Brown counts him in — “1, 2, 3, 4. Hit it!” — and Mr. Stubblefield eases into a cool pattern, part bendy funk and part hard march. It’s calm, slick and precise, and atop it, Brown asks over and over, “Ain’t it funky?”

It was. That brief snippet of percussion excellence became the platonic ideal of a breakbeat, the foundation of hip-hop’s sampling era and a direct through line from the ferocious soul music of the civil rights era to the golden age of history-minded hip-hop of the 1980s and 1990s.

Though Mr. Stubblefield wasn’t enamored of the song — “I didn’t like the song. I still don’t really get off on it,” he told Paste magazine in 2014— its mark became indelible. Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx,” Sinead O’Connor’s “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” and Kenny G’s “G-Bop”: Mr. Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break appeared as a sample in all of those songs, and over a thousand more, from the 1980s to the present day. It made Mr. Stubblefield, who died on Saturday in Madison, Wis., at 73, perhaps the most sampled drummer in history.

The cause was kidney failure, said his manager, Kathie Williams.

Mr. Stubblefield was born on April 18, 1943, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was drawn to the rhythms of local industrial sounds, from factories to trains. “There was a factory there that puffed out air — pop-BOOM, pop-BOOM — hit the mountains and came back as an echo,” he told Isthmus in 2015. “And train tracks — click-clack, click-clack. I listened to all that for six years, playing my drums against it.”

By his late teenage years, he was already playing drums professionally, and he moved to Macon, Ga., after playing with Otis Redding, who hailed from there. There, he performed with local soul acts, and was introduced to Brown by a club owner. Soon, he was flying to join Brown on the road, and became a permanent band member.

He performed with him on and off for about six years, one of two key drummers — the other was John Starks, who was also known as Jabo — playing on the essential James Brown albums of the civil rights era: “Cold Sweat,” “I Got the Feelin’,” “It’s a Mother,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” and “Sex Machine.” He performed at some of Brown’s most important concerts, including at the Boston Garden after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and for United States service members in Vietnam.

His sharp funk provided the anchor on anthems like “Cold Sweat,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” and “I Got The Feelin’.” Always, his playing was complex but collected — his flourishes between beats were as essential as the beat itself. Brown demanded a lot of his band, and Mr. Stubblefield, with playing that had punch, nimbleness and wet texture, never appeared to be breaking a sweat.

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/arts/music/clyde-stubblefield-dead.htmlrref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Public Enemy Drops Timely New Video “No Sympathy From The Devil”

For those who grew up in the 1980s, Public Enemy was one of a handful of nationally-known hip-hop acts that created socially-conscious rap almost exclusively.  From “Don’t Believe The Hype” to “Fight The Power” (from Spike Lee‘s still-all-too-relevant movie about racism and police brutality Do The Right Thing) to “By The Time I Get To Arizona”, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X and the crew were on the forefront of calling out media manipulation, systemic racism and bigotry, and the widespread mistreatment of black people in America.

Public_Enemy_Man_Plans_God_LaughsNow, over 30 years after they’ve formed and three years since their last album, Public Enemy has released Man Plans God Laughs, offering much-needed and necessary protest music once again.  The video for the single “No Sympathy From The Devil” was just released today, and it packs a chilling punch.  It ties historical acts of racism with the racism of today – and so much of it looks the same (at the 1:56 mark, Sandra Bland‘s mug shot appears and has the effect of a gut punch).

The entire album, which was released a few weeks ago on July 15, can be heard on Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/album/1pmsTgxfLMkCw7C5LuSHFD

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.14.35 PM

“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is by far one of the most important records known to man.  A “total knock out of the park” as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once told Rolling Stone, the 1982 record marked a pivotal moment for hip-hop.  The first of its kind, at seven-minutes rapper Melle Mel and co-writer Duke Bootee traded clear-cut lines about the everyday struggle and decay in America’s ghettos. From the ubiquitous “broken glass” to the “junkies in the alley” and how the kids that are “born with no state of mind” end up succumbing to the live fast, die young statistic. It’s an monumental piece of recording that perfectly demonstrates the foundation on which hip-hop was founded.

Beyond that though, it’s also the very record that Mickey Bentson, co-founder of The Universal Zulu Nation, and Ice-T brought up during a phone conversation with REVOLT. “Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel made one of the hardest records ever: “The Message” with no cursing. Wow. That’s unbelievable,” Bentson exclaimed.  “Where you gonna get all this stuff at? Nowhere but at the Art of Rap Festival baby.”

In 2012, Ice-T chronicled the rich foundation and importance of the hip-hop into a one hour-and-a-half epic, better known as the critically-acclaimed documentary, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.” An intimate journey that uncovers the layers, elements, and science of hip-hop, the film took it back to the essence, while bringing along famous faces like Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chuck D and many more for a discussion on the art form. Three years since he opened the conversation, Ice-T,  joined by Bentson, has added another layer (and new meaning) to the “The Art of Rap,” with an inaugural event he is calling “the most prolific and essential hip-hop festival ever.”

The Art of Rap Festival, which will take place over the course of two days in California, features a dream team line-up of emcees that range from Big Daddy Kane to Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, EPMD, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Melle Mel, King T, Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie, and more. Just like the film, the festival, which will feature co-headliners including Game and Ice-T at its July 18th Irvine date and Ice-T at the July 19th Mountain View show, takes it back to the essence.

Speaking about the summer must-attend festival, Ice-T and Mickey Bentson hopped on the phone with REVOLT and discussed just how and why this event came together.

In 2012, Ice-T, you released this film and now it has transformed into a full blown festival. How did you two come together for this?

Ice-T: Well, [The Art of Rap] happened for me, I was sitting around and for a while when you would say you an emcee, people actually had this heavy respect for you. Well the point that when you would say ‘rapper,’ people would kind of look at you like a clown. Rappers were kind of acting up and I didn’t like that, so I said you know what I want to make a film that makes people really respect the art of rap. It’s not a game, it’s real stuff. I worked really hard on my music, I grew up with [Big Daddy] Kane and Rakim and people like that, and I said this is serious business. So we shot the film, it did what it was supposed to do, make people understand that it is an art form and the next obvious move was to take it on the road. The Art of Rap Tour is meant to be about the craft and the culture of hip-hop, so we go all the way from The Soulsonic Force to somebody like The Game.

As you mentioned, this festival is about the craft and culture. Why is this such an important element for this event? 

T: We want people to take pride in what they do. If you take pride in your music, you’re going to do good music. If you look at music as just a way to get paid, then you might throw up any ol’ shit, and you also ain’t gonna represent it right, [because] when you get interviewed you gonna say any ol’ s*** — and that bothers the artists. That’s like me coming into jazz and not knowing who Miles Davis was, and there’s going to be people who’s going to have feelings about that.  Continue reading “Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music”

Chuck D Getting an Honorary Doctorate from Adelphi University

chuck dLegendary rapper Chuck D will be a featured speaker at Adelphi University and will also receive an honorary doctorate degree during the school’s 117th graduation on May 19.

He actually attended the university from 1978 to 1984 and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and had a hand in expanding the school’s radio programming.

In an interview with Ebony magazine earlier this year, he spoke of his work with the university’s program.

“I always used to do a lot of hosting and I was on college radio in the early 80s. So I was always a part of something that wanted to break deejays and parties out,” he said. “And that was with Hank Shocklee and Spectrum [City] back on Long Island. What made me want to become a recording artist; I was the first artist that was repeatedly asked by a label to record with them. That label was Def Jam Records.”

He continues, “So I was the first recruited artist ever by them. I originally told them no, but a year later, I eventually said yes. It wasn’t like I sent someone a demo. I was feverishly requested to make records.”

article by Brittney M. Walker via eurweb.com

Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’ Still Powerful 25 Years Later

Flavor Flav and Chuck D of Public Enemy
Flavor Flav and Chuck D of Public Enemy

The greatest hip-hop album ever was made 25 years ago this month.  Its title alone speaks volumes: It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.  At the time, it was a metaphor for African-American people, a nod to the systemic racism plaguing America, but for others, it also represented the uphill battle Public Enemy faced.

The album was crafted at a time, 1988, when hip-hop had no boundaries and every landmark album was groundbreaking. But Public Enemy broke ground that went clear through to the other side of the world when they made It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. The album is what we call a Magnum Opus (Latin for ‘great work’).

PE’s second album, It Takes A Nation boasts one of the slickest intros, but it forecasted what was to come — world domination.  It Takes A Nation kicks off from a recording in London, while the Long-Island-born group toured the world on the 1987 Def Jam tour. They were informing America that they had already been approved by the world and now it was America’s turn.

Of course, hardcore hip-hop heads had already embraced their first album, Yo! Bum Rush The Show, but this was special.

Read the full article here: Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’ still powerful 25 years later | theGrio.

N.W.A., Public Enemy Among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Public Enemy, N.W.A., Rush, and Deep Purple are among the group of first-time nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

They join returnees Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Kraftwerk among the 15 artists vying for entry.

Continue reading “N.W.A., Public Enemy Among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees”