May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

US Hip Hop legend to play Hip Hop (Maori Stylez) to the World

3 min read

(Source | Stuff) WHEN hip-hop legends Public Enemy hit New Zealand next month, frontman Chuck D (Carlton Ridenhour) will be broadcasting Kiwi music to the US.

The rapper, who has led Public Enemy since the early 80s, will be recording his weekly radio show And You Don’t Stop from here.

Chuck wants to give New Zealand musicians an airing and is keen to promote Che Fu’s music.

“I’ll be doing part of my radio show from Auckland. I have a segment called Planet Rock where I play rap artists from around the globe,” he said.

Che is flattered by Chuck’s attention. “He’s an absolute legend of hip-hop,” said Che. “His music is still an inspiration to me.”

Chuck and Che were born on different sides of the world but have a lot in common. Both were heavily influenced by politically active parents who campaigned for equality Che’s for Maori rights and Chuck’s against the oppression of Black Americans.

“Who are my heroes? My Mum and Dad still. I just spent the last few days with my Dad and, as I’m driving the car, he’s dropping his opinion and I’m listening. After 50 years, I’m still my Father’s son,” says Chuck from New York.

Chuck has spearheaded socially conscious rap since Public Enemy exploded out of Long Island, New York, in the 80s. The band also featuring Flavor Flav (William Drayton), more recently known as a reality TV star has travelled to 76 countries, spreading its message.

“In 1986 and 1987 as black men coming from America and telling the black story, we heard stories from all over the world about oppression and racism, sexism and ageism,” Chuck said.

“We tell people that culture is a beautiful thing that has the ability to bring human beings together for our similarities, under the premise of one human race.”

Chuck has fond memories of his trips to New Zealand.

“[New Zealand] is a beautiful place, and I think that’s an understatement. Actually being able to come there and play rap music as far back as 1990 has been a joy and a pleasure.

“I have had wonderful experiences with Maori people there. We went to one of the temples [in Gisborne] and had a fantastic time. It was one of the highlights of our career being invited there and really feeling at home.”

Chuck’s advice to up-and-coming rap artists is to bridge the old and the new. “It’s definitely the digital age and the digital stage. Learn to manage that process as best possible but also keep your foot rooted into where this thing came from performance art.

You have to be able to go to an audience and do what you think you know and what you like.

“To get them to know and like it as well is based on how much work and effort you put into your craft.

“Because of the way music is now, there is a big outreach for New Zealand, now everyone is everywhere at the same time.”

Public Enemy, Fear of A Black Planet tour, is at Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal, on January 7, tickets from and Real Groovy and at Auckland Town Hall on January 8, tickets from 0800BUYTICKETS, or the Edge Box Office

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