Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop with Chuck D

Chuck D speaks to the large crowd assembled at the Queens Public Library on Feb. 27. Photo by Luis Monge.


On Monday, Feb. 27, The Queens Public Library hosted “Hip Hop 50th National Celebration Kick-Off with Chuck D,” who is an author, musical artist, and producer, best known as the leader and frontman of the hip hop group Public Enemy.

Chuck D was given a standing ovation when he arrived at the event, and once settled in, he shared some advice he learned from over the years when Hip-Hop was something new to the world.

“Born in 1960, I ain’t in awe of Hip-Hop, like oh my god cuz, I wasn’t born into Hip-Hop. I was 12 years older than Hip-Hop if you wanna give a start date of 1973 but I would tell you, in this city all five boroughs and I’m including Richman, Staten Island and you also gotta include Jersey, Westchester, Connecticut, the Tri-State area… you just can’t be lazy doing hip hop and expect like, okay ‘I’m a just come in.’ There’s a long history of heads that follow rap and Hip-Hop and DJ’s back for 50 years and even more,” said Chuck D.

Chuck D shared the things he learned from when he started to be involved with Hip-Hop and about how security was during those days.

“Back in the day the best security was a fantastic DJ, he put that party going on and on. If the DJ is wack you have security issues,” Chuck D said.

Chuck D also shared what you weren’t supposed to do when you were the one with the microphone.

“Don’t get in the way of the DJ, so if you get the mic you better know how to what? If he’s going from I can’t stop to baby Ruth and you fumble somewhere in the middle of it and you drop the rhythm in the fumble you ain’t getting no mic. You had to be granted the mic then you couldn’t get in the way of the DJ, you had to ride the rhythms and know when to talk without getting the mood of the crowd to get up outta the way and you had to sound good,” Chuck D said.

Fan Amaryllis Green, who attended the event, said she finds Chuck D to be an inspiration.

“I definitely learned that activists come in many sizes, people in colors because he’s been fighting behind the scenes for most people. You never notice the messages unless he says them out or like if you are really listening into it,” Green said.

Chuck D fans packed the auditorium at the Queens Public Library on Feb. 27. Photo by Luis Monge.