Chuck D new solo , “Celebration of Ignorance,” a powerful addition to the hip hop legend’s formidable 30-year career. The album was written and recorded during an intensely prolific and creative period, which included new albums from both Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage (released in 2017), his 300+ page book “This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History” (published by Hatchett’s Black Dog & Leventhal division in 2017), his first gallery show as a visual artist earlier this year and a return to cinematic composing. Chuck created additional music (with Amani K. Smith) for the new Showtime documentary series, “Shut Up and Dribble,” and his new track, “Speak On It,” will close out the final episode this Saturday at 9p.m. ET/PT.
After several whirlwind years of writing, recording, touring and creating art in multiple mediums, Chuck shows no signs of slowing down, telling fans, “Enjoy “Celebration of Ignorance” and catch me in 2019 on the road with Enemy Radio, Public Enemy, and Prophets of Rage, hopefully, maybe, doing these songs.” Chuck D is considered one of the most influential lyricists in contemporary music. Both as a solo artist and as the leader of the groundbreaking group Public Enemy (which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013), he helped pave the way for political, social, and culturally conscious hip-hop.
Public Enemy's albums remain among the most critically acclaimed works in the genre, including “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” and “Fear of a Black Planet.” Chuck is also a prominent figure on the speaking circuit lending his voice to issues and causes ranging from technology to race relations. He is also a founding member of the supergroup Prophets of Rage, alongside members of Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill.
“Chuck D's "Celebration Of Ignorance" Project Chides 45 & Elevates LeBron James” by Kyle Eustice
Over the course of his celebrated career, Chuck D has consistently — and expertly — delivered politically-charged bars over powerful and frenetic production. His new Mistachuck solo project, Celebration Of Ignorance, harnesses that same energy for the duration of its 10 tracks.
From his thoughts on 45 and his “Cavemanic” behavior to LeBron James and the destruction of Mother Earth, Chuck and his partner-in-rhyme Jahi of P.E. 2.0 kick plenty of knowledge as they swap their verses.
“I make sure that I do a release every year,” Chuck tells HipHopDX. “In this case, the Celebration Of Ignorance is the subject that just came out of the discussion of what I see and think about at this moment. It’s actually based off of a Carl Sagan book. I decided to write the album surrounding it. It doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel. It’s just a reflection of this time and this space now that I have and being able to put it into a cultural mode.”
Jahi adds, “It’s based on an excerpt from Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World. It provided an opportunity to let the mic and music speak. The goal is to know the tradition of showing respect to your elders in Hip Hop. Chuck D is not just one of the greatest minds we have in Hip Hop and the world, we also move as brothers of the same mind.
“In giving maximum respect and salute, I did my best to bring my penmanship, add something and follow Chuck’s lead.”
With production from David “C-Doc” Snyder, Celebration Of Ignorance also shines a light on Jahi’s innate lyrical skills. “He’s a labelmate and he’s also the first MC I commissioned to do work in Public Enemy as far as an opening MC or Master of Ceremonies,” Chuck says. “Project Experience Millennial — that’s what PE 2.0 means and Jahi is more like Mr. Chuck D. We decided to be more of accompanying duo hitting at these topics. Like I said, I chose him to be another MC in Public Enemy because of not only his tenure, but his ability to move the crowd.”
And at the end of the day, that’s one of Chuck’s specialties. He’s been rocking stages with Public Enemy and now Prophets Of Rage for decades. He’s not as concerned about record sales as he is with getting an impactful message across.
“It’s my firm belief that a lot of people want to get buzz and they want to do anything to make noise, so they can get a sale,” he says. “The theme about the SpitSLAM Record Label Group is that we want to have a dignified roster of artists that make statements. We don’t thirst for the sale. We thirst for the placement.”