Chuck D. Calls Out Jay-Z and Kanye West for Materialism During Economic Hardship

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

I met the rapper Chuck D at the Measuring the Movement forum, hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton.  I sat next to Chuck for a good 30 minutes during the panel discussion and got to appreciate his humility and intelligence as it pertains to the plight of black people.  What I also noticed was that Chuck stands a far cry away from his peers regarding whether or not they give a damn about the people who are buying their albums.

In a spin-off to the new song, "Otis," written by Kanye West and Jay-Z, Chuck engages in a lyrical assault like no other, highlighting the fact that it’s not cool for West and Jay-Z to brag about how much money they waste when African Americans are in the middle of one of the most devastating periods in economic history.  With 16 percent unemployment and the near complete decimation of black wealth, Chuck speaks directly to the public backlash toward artists who remain ignorant enough to believe that rapping about private jets and half-million dollar cars is preferable to discussing our collective plight.  In fact, I’ll never forget when the artist Diddy gave his 16-year old son a half-million dollar car, and then turned around and gave a mere $10,000 to the entire country of Haiti.

Chuck also speaks on the prison industrial complex, which is something that neither Kanye nor Jay-Z seems to have noticed.  I met another (nameless) artist who works with West on a regular basis.  I asked him if Kanye is in tune with the social issues that plague the black community.  To my disappointment, the artist simply said, "Kanye’s on some other sh*t."   I would hate to believe that the man who had the courage to speak up on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina has turned himself into just another highly talented corporate monkey.

Hip-hop obviously needs to turn the corner.  Using the guidance and inspiration from empowered and progressive artists like Chuck D, one would hope that the creative fire of hip-hop music can be harnessed for progressive change.  The time is ripe for a major political movement:  Economic times are worse than they’ve been in decades, the Internet allows people to come together like never before, and the disapproval rating of political leaders in Washington is at an all-time low.  Chuck is onto something, and I hope that his speaking up against "The Throne" (Jay-Z and Kanye’s latest exercise in self-absorption) is the first of many steps toward giving our community the vision that it needs to create a better life.

Real hope and change lies in the streets, not on Capital Hill and not at Def Jam Records.  All of us have to speak up, stand up and make our world into what it needs to be.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

    • Ms. Victory
    • August 6th, 2011

    Yeah, its so sad really for the young black man….I don’t even listen to Jayz or Kanyes music anymore.

      • Anonymous
      • August 13th, 2011

      Neither do i

      • Anonymous
      • August 18th, 2011

      Chuck…we NEED you to bring back Public Enemy….we have to change the consciousness of the massess of our black youth.

        • Anonymous
        • August 18th, 2011

        I agree whole heartedly.

  1. That is why this guy is not on TV but flav is. That is the problem, chuck kicks way too much knowledge.

      • Anonymous
      • August 9th, 2011

      Should he stop?

      • no way! I hope that his views reach the masses…Flav was doing it for personal gain..I bet he funded Chuck D in some aspect or another with some of the bread he made from the reality show BS.

      • fly37
      • August 9th, 2011

      We have an overabundance of black bufoons on TV. But there again….when you see something reiterated enough times, you and other communities believe in it.

    • Meanchick
    • August 6th, 2011

    Well written! Let’s hope they are listening!

    • Ms. Victory
    • August 6th, 2011

    @derrick how does someone kick to much knowledge? That’s the problem now in the world no one kicks enough. People rather listen to lies and comedy then the truth. Good job Chuck D keep it up I support you.

  2. Thank you for sharing! It’s important to talk about these issues. We all may not agree but it’s important to share our point of view. I think it’s important that the people in the music industry understands what kind of message they send with each public action that they do. They have to understand that they are being watched by our youth and they are taking note!

  3. I am in agreement with littleblackvillage, these are all men from within our community who can enlighten us and are viewed by our children. The topic needs to be discussed and I am certain there is different way that all parties can engage in dialogue.

    • eat-the-rich
    • August 6th, 2011

    “littleblackvillage” says what I’m thinking. “You are what you eat” — If you listen to trash all the time, you become trash. Give us all something to grow and love and become ourselves, not just putting others down. Yeah Chuck D.

    • Anonymous
    • August 6th, 2011

    It’s Ironic that Chuck is speaking on this issue, because it’s a topic that I tried to get him to support about 10 years ago, I guess better later then never! Reel Street Talk!

    • Esther Muhammad
    • August 6th, 2011

    materalism can be a very destructive tool to make the mases of black people believe that we all made it. chuck d is one of the brighest minds we have, today theses rappers get paid for verbal destruction of there own people cant wait to the likeness of a jay z and kayne finally wake up.

    • JC
    • August 7th, 2011

    Sounds like Chuck is hating. Firstly, who says Jigga & Yeezy are making music only for black poeple? We all know other races buy hip-hop. Secondly, this is America, a consumer based economy, so if the music is not preferred then the demand would be low. It’s not low so therefore it is preferred. Fiinally, it’s their (Jay-z & Kanye) music, who are we to tell them what they should talk about? If you don’t like it don’t buy it. Cats have got to stop hating on the next man making money. This reminds me of Ice-T & Souljay-Boy incident.

      • Shame the Devil and Tell the Truth
      • August 7th, 2011

      You are right BUT you missed the point. This a free market and you should take every opportunity you have to advance yourself BUT these two came from the same environment that many of their supporters are coming from and its a bit insensitive and ignorant for them to put out such music when the people who overwhelmingly support their music and will accost anyone that attacks them (see “African Americans” response to Oprah’s attack on jay-Z and Kanye) are suffering mightily. How quickly we forget where we came from. When hey were poor and struggling they wanted help, space and opportunity. J has twice the money of Jalen Rose (who built a school in Detroit to help the youth) yet he has done nothing to give back to his community. you can say that he owes his community nothing BUT he does. They invested in him and he should do the same. I know, this is a capitalist society but that doesn’t mean he should not be judged and criticized for his actions or lack thereof.

        • Anonymous
        • August 15th, 2011

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. Thank you so much for sharing nothing “But the TRUTH.”

    • I don’t know what race or nationality you are, but you must not be aware of what’s going on in South Shore, Chicago(my hometown), or Bed Stuy, Brooklyn(frequent visitor). These are too places that are heavily effected by the economy. So for you to just miss the entire point is disheartening. Especially if you’re from an urban area.

    • The more constructive thing to do would be to learn the difference between “hating” and critical assessment and calling to responsibility. If Chuck-D was envious of Kanye’s and Jay-Z’s success, then he could rightly be called a hater. But Chuck has no reason to envy them. I don’t envy them because I’m not an entertainer, and I don’t desire to be one. But I share Chuck’s assessment of this latest collaboration between these two mega-rich hip-hop stars, whose success is built upon a large, multi-cultural following, the majority of which is likely African-American, and who are disproportionately negatively affected by this economy. They both have enough money and enough respect in the hip-hop community that they could have said thanks, but no thanks to this one, and instead, speak to the conditions that are now making it so that people who can least afford to are financing their extravagances.

        • Peaches
        • August 16th, 2011

        I agree with you fully…..

      • Reel
      • August 9th, 2011

      My Dude this is not a hating game this a statement! It’s about when you have nothing and you are poor and everybody around you is dying and your homeland is taken over not giving you or your fam a dime or job and these men who is the same blood as u come around your hood singing or rapper about how much they are getting or spending on them self would u like it,would u support them or would u ask them for your help but they tell u they don’t know u so they can’t help but u don’t know them either and u buy their album helping them make more money and all u get is the music that brain washed you.Now did that music help u get money for your fam and do u called that hating or is it just sad?? You probably don’t care cause this is not happen to u so u don’t know how it feel………

    • It’s always someone ready to drop the H-bomb against valid, constructive criticism and tough love. The only true “haters” are people who are jealous, envious, or lack understanding. Surely Chuck isn’t coming from any of those positions.

      • I Am That I Am
      • August 17th, 2011

      Umm last time I checked in the empty music being put out, all these new cats are pumping/getting caked off via selling unrealistic images & lifestyles on the screen to a people that couldn’t even give you the branches of gov’t off the top of their heads, but will go to a korean to get that piece of dead hair every other week to look like a euro-peon. If you or any of those that believe that Chuck is hating, then explain why ‘black’, negro, colored, (& all those other slave derivative) folk are the biggest consumers/users with no businesses poppin’ for their progeny. Do you know if Soulja Boy OWNS his publishing? If Rick Ross(former correction over-seer aka officer) really sells the poisons he brags about in his lyrics to his children cuz he’s definitely pumpin’ that energy into yours(if you have children) & btw ,monitoring it at home don’t mean they have no access to it. How are you going to educate your child properly via monitoring what they eat (seeing is eating too) if you’re sending them to public institutions aka public schools to be better debt consumers? So JC if none of these dudes ever give back to their community, WHO DO THEY WORK FOR?

      • Anonymous
      • September 2nd, 2012

      you have no idea how a record is made. artists are not free to talk about whatever they want on their albums. ask Lupe or better yet; take a music business course and look at the hard facts for hip hop artists. you can’t rap about anything thats not ignorant or you wont get played/paid. for real…read up on this issue. those rappers you’re hearing aren’t saying just what they want. they are half puppets

    • EJ
    • August 7th, 2011

    I agree with Chuck D 100%. I love the artist Jay Z and Kanye for what they have achieved, but they have enough power and influence to change thinking. The corporate monkwey is the big thing today. All the artist that the power’s that be promote are the same. (Gucci mane, lil wayne, wacha flacka, jeezy, soldier boy and so many others. They promote nothing positive for black youth. And is is a Cancer in the minds of many blacks. The thinking is completely off base for minorities who look up to them. As for Jay n Kanye, they need to change their subject matter. They have enough money. I am also disgusted with the prices of tickets for their upcoming concert tour. In the middle of this economic crisis they are charging people $200, $300, $400 and even $500 for tickets. This is absolutely insane and the worst type of greed and rape of the peopke who support you. I suggest that there be a major boycott to their concert if they do not lower pricing. People are not in ther position to spend that type of money for a concert in the economic disaster. Wake up Jay Z and Kanye. You can do better.

  4. This is how it goes . . . it is called “racism supporting capitalism and capitalism supporting racism.” This is a term dubbed by former Black Panther James Boggs. This thing is cyclical and we’re the sicker for it. Black people are still the ones at the bottom rung of the ladder and what remains important to far too many of us especiallyour youth is greed, lust and power. Yes power is good and if the number of Black celebrities all got together and pooled their monies . . . OH MY GOODNESS the possibilities are endless what they could do. Unfortunately, we continue to sell our souls like “Shorty,” in Richard Wright’s “Black Boy.” I would like to hope that Jay-Z and Kanye are doing GREAT things that perhaps we don’t hear about to benefit the blighted state of so many Black people – instead of selling them delusions of grandeur that yes are attainable but have a way of making us forget where it is that we come from. When we’re not balanced in serving no one other than ourselves then we’ve missed the mark. And that we all know is a SIN. Peace. Gilda

  5. I agree with Chuck 100%. I also understand and respect the genius of Kanye and Jay. I’ve been torn to pieces over the lyrics of the the last past 20 years of rap. Wanting to hear it even though I know that its detrimental. But if you think back, this was all a plan from the start. They pretty much took away the popularity of PE to make room for Gangsta Rap, and the rest is history. We continue to live for today and be remember for what one person has, over what what one person has done to help. The only way it will change is if we understand generational wealth and start to view our communities as the starting point. Damn, I git so much to say about this one. It hurts though.

    • Rossie norris
    • August 7th, 2011

    I agree with most of what is being said about how Capitalism sometimes causes us to be conflicted about what truly matters. I am sure that there are some good things being done by both of these artists. What concerns me most is what the rest of us are NOT doing.
    I don’t know why we are not having marches and vigils ALL OVER this country given the state of our Black Union right now. staggering unemployment,prison overflowing with (JUst Us) gas gouging,A 70 per cent illiegitimacy rate,Aids virus, poor education, poor health care, substandard housing, paying way more than our fair share of taxes and corporate greed are more than a a FEW reasons why it is time to ACT and forget about those things we cannot change. We ALL need to hit the street again, peacefully I submit and make our collective voiced heard This is a great site to organize from … by city. Rev. Al, Boyce will you help us? “Power concedes nothing without a demand”. Frederick Douglas.

  6. That’s what hip hop is, bragging about how much money and cars and women and bling they have or are getting from dumbed down “wanna be” kids and adults. Corporate America knows money keeps artist in line to guide their fans with every word they say.That’s why Marvin Gaye was saying before his time “Whats Going On”, today like the yougins say “ain’t nuttin'”. A social issue today is where’s the party. Thank you Chuck D for calling out these “rappers” about where their mind is at. This is what the slogan ” A mind is a terrible thing to waste” represents, cause someone out there wants black minds wasted.

    • You sound kinda cynical about Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is a street art form that grew from simply rocking the people to a wide spectrum that includes social consciousness; the “urban” rendition of sex, drugs
      & rock ‘n roll; violence; and someone’s extravagant Robb Report fantasies. It’s whatever the people making or spinning music, dancing to it or doing graffiti want it to be.

      We need to stop pigeonholing as being this ugly commercial thing that gets propped up the most.

    • Anonymous
    • August 7th, 2011

    I want to know when did it become okay to get your views on life and social issue from music. Sounds ridiculous to me

      • Anonymous
      • August 8th, 2011

      Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook, Bob Dillan, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, John Lennon, to name just a few, took an opportunity to say something meaningful about the world. “We shall overcome” became anthem for the Civil Rights movement. Governments are well aware of the power of music. Dig deeper.

    • Music was never only for pleasure. Drums and horns were once communication tools.

    • Ashley Cassidy
    • August 7th, 2011

    I too agree with Chuck D. We as a people should want to look after another and want better for one another because if we don’t, who
    will? People can say times have changed all they want and that there are more opportunities for our people but the system is still set up for us to be behind. Jay Z and Kanye are not entitled to give up anything for their people but they should want to do everything they could to help their people, the main ones to put them in the positions that they sing and rap about daily. I think it is one of the duties and responsibilities of any powerful African American. Do they think that the Lord smiles at the fact that they have the means to help and accomplish so much in this world but they choose to do the bare minimum? And at the same time our people, Lord our people, need to want more for themselves, be willing to stand up for themselves in wanting better and more and not wait on others. We as a people should all do more and better not just Kanye West and Jay Z.

    • Anonymous
    • August 7th, 2011

    $100,000,000,000 Slaves Chu8ck D is right.

    • D.a.g
    • August 8th, 2011

    Yeah Jay-Z appears to be on the continuing pathway of self-aggrandizement; however, West bold statement at the Grammy’s and the aftermath of creating public discourse lasting to this day. As a matter of, Bush commented on his statement in 2010! It would do a great disservice to the public discourse created by West and provide more fuell to vulnerable seeking some. immunity from the grinding maltreatment of people already suffering from the legacy of Chattel slavery ion direct conjunction of 100 years of de facto segregation!

    • Mr. Charlie
    • August 8th, 2011

    My great great great great great grandfather Willie Lynch put a hiring on you jigs didn’t he?

    • AfrikanQueen
    • August 8th, 2011

    Jay Z, Kanye and Diddy are not the only ones that need to give back to the community and to use their venue to advocate for African-American and Africans all over the world. Other powerful and rich African-Americans i.e., sport figures, actors/actresses, singers, scholars, basketball wives, house wives of Atlanta, etc., need to step up as well. Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and many others used their venues to call out the issues of our time, discrimination, war, etc. High paid athletes during this same time also used their stages to protest, promote, advocate and give back to our community.

    One example was at the 1966 Summer Olympic games when the 3 African-American track gold, silver and bronze medal winners raised the “Black Power Fist”. That single gesture was more than symbolic, it was inspirational and unifying, it sent a message around the world that the struggles of one African-American was the struggle of all African-Americans and African people world wide. It was during the civil rights movement in the US and it let the world know that even with our victories at the Olympics we are united with the struggles at home, we are in this together!

    Those of us who are not rich and powerful should give back to our community as well; give your time, advocate for others that can’t or don’t know how to advocate for themselves! Feed someone who is hungry, give your used clothing to others in need. Stop complaining about the kids that can’t read and start tutoring, kids that are not supervised and start guiding! As the elders in my family always taught us, it is your responsible to be all you can be, take care of yourself and your family and always give back to our community! When I grew up this was taught in every African-American household, our rich and powerful were not taught this they need to start this practice and pass it on to their children! Before white folks and others know how much money you have, how rich and famous you are, you are just another N—–!

      • Anonymous
      • August 15th, 2011

      AMEN AfrikanQueen!!!!! Many can learn from your wisdom in your words.

      • Jules
      • August 18th, 2011

      AfrikanQueen, I agree with everything that you have written, but I just wanted to add an observation. Unfortunately, (most) athletes and reality show entertainers (A.K.A. buffoons), do not have the audience, range and therefore, less influence than Jay Z, Kanye & Diddy. There are some singers, such as, Rihanna and Beyonce who have the audience, but they too do ‘limited’ things to help communities that are marginalized (nevertheless, they do far more than Kanye & Diddy combined). Just to illustrate the audience, range and influence that these rappers & singers have: I now live in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, I attend a French language learning school/center and in my class, there are students from Senegal, Guinea Bissau & Gambia; these students have all of Jay Z’s songs, wear T. shirts with the faces of: Jay Z, 50, Tupac, Biggie Rhianna & Beyonce; they don’t speak English, but know the hooks & chorus of these artists’ songs and (to my amazement) they know how to ‘pop their collar’. In class, we had to write (in French) 3 famous people that we like, they all wrote the names of US rappers &/or singers, one student wrote down an athlete.

      All though you are 100% correct in saying that, “Jay Z, Kanye and Diddy are not the only ones that need to give back to the community” They are the most influential for the African youth world wide and if Jay Z, Diddy, Kanye, etc… started REALLY helping the communities (here and abroad) by relaying powerful and uplifting messages in their music, other entertainers, athletes, etc… would follow suit.

    • AfrikanQueen
    • August 8th, 2011

    I have a couple of corrections on my earlier post the Olympics was in 1968 not 1966 and it was the gold and bronze medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos there was not an African-American siler medal winner.

    • rudeboi
    • August 8th, 2011

    WORD LIFE!!!! to Chuck D and shut up to the clowns that call this hating. That’s just some more coon bullshit.

    • Deborah & robert Stone
    • August 8th, 2011

    I am glad to see that Jay-Z and Mr.West are being called out for their lack of sensitivity at this awfull economic plight our country is going through. Not only them but these Atlanta Housewives and all those such shows are dispicable. With all the crisis we are facing these air heads are only concerned with the next trinket they can buy. Are We as aPeople so far removed from the plight of our brothers and sisters that are suffering. I’d like to include clergy in this category as well. They preach about hold on and they know people have lost homes and jobs etc.; and then they in the next breath pass the offering plate to collect for a building fund or some such. I did hear of a few ministers offering the Sunday collection to the victims of Katrina but a very few.We all need to Check ourselves !

    • Booka Tee Washinten
    • August 8th, 2011

    The only thing some of us love calling eachother more than the n*word is broke, you’ve got kids out here quoting rap lyrics like they’re balling because they have some new shoes not knowig mama said don’t asnwer the phone because it’s Check N 2 Cash calling.

    • Jamal
    • August 8th, 2011

    This is an excellent critique by Chuck D and more people need to call these rappers and artists out for their lack of position and effort in regards to the realities of the communities they claim to represent. My suggestion is that people stop buying their albums, jerseys and tickets to their games. But hey, with the economy sinking we might not even have a choice.

    • Mrs Shya
    • August 9th, 2011

    Sad but true, kanye and jay are *giving the people what the people want*. What they are saying sells. How I wish we could stick it to them (and artists like them) economically!

  7. I actually had to create a video to vent my disapproval of this absent minded music

  8. There is only one black man in the USA that tells the truth about black folks. His name is pastor James David Manning. Check him out on You tube. I listened to him the other day and he tells it like it is.

  9. To his credit, Jay-Z has always gave back and continues to give but, Chuck D is on the money in his criticisms. Our artist (during this time) have to mindful of what they talk about on their songs. It’s not about hating on their success, I’m sure most blacks are happy to see them successful BUT, it’s real tough to demand people to drop 16 dollars on an album and just for folks to listen to them talk about stuff a lot of people can’t afford.

    As far as West goes, are you kidding me? He’s ALWAYS been a corporate monkey this isn’t anything new.

    • Dionte
    • August 9th, 2011

    I never really cared about what artist have. Cause everybody has a chance to grind and go get it. Should I say jay and kanye should care that me and 600 co-workers got laid off? Nah. Hate to say it but sometimes we as black people expect to much from others in a different social economic position. Kanye mom died kinda changed him after my mom died it changed me. jay dad was never there never knew my dad til I was 16 I can related to these dudes in some way.

    • blackest of black
    • August 9th, 2011

    Thank goodness there are still some of us still around with intelligence! Music has always been apart of our culture and unfortunately, due to the redirection of rap music, it does not serve its true purpose and the artists are to blame. If you are true to yourself and your community, You will not be lead astray. These guys let temporary fame and greed for the Almighty dollar rearrange their priorities. These guys are involuntary role models for children who may not have proper understanding of reality and allow the media to dictate the public’s perception of them. Rap was supposed to be entertaining, educating and informative. Bragging about things they know that got others killed is beyond me. Like they say, art is a true expression of one’s self

  10. speak on it Chuck !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Role models Are important. But when media apparatus select only bufoons…like Flava Flav, and not black Intelligentsia, like Chuck D, it is easier for the masses to believe that there is no such thing.

    • Jamal
    • August 9th, 2011

    Sadly, the entertainers who continue to do the materialistic song and dance truly are modern day minstrels. At the end of the day, they’ve done very little for anyone outside of themselves and a few of their family members and friends. They’re essentially good for nothing.

    • pre nup
    • August 9th, 2011

    It has nothing to do with “black” or “african american” kids. If one is to believe such a thing then the real issue will never be seen. Classism makes racism look like a sweet sixteen party. I loveconcious hip hop but it ain’t the “minorities” under attack it’s all of us! I’m an individual of mixed heritage, so it’s never been like i hate this guy or hate because of this. It has always been, for me, these people,Government, cops armies, whatever, are waging violent acts in the name of the country i live in, or the name of a God I don’t feel the need for.
    Anyway it isn’t shame for letting down one color they should feel…it’s a shame for us all of the folks who look up to lost baboons like these two.

    • Blythe Dhia
    • August 9th, 2011

    I understand and completely agree with this article, but every time I have this conversation with my peers, they argue that “KanJay” are merely entertainers who don’t owe us (Black people) anything. This is when I get conflicted because I feel like I should hold them accountable to something just because of their power and influence. However, why do I really expect so much from basically “two regulah” dudes who blew the hell up to become spoiled, rich douchebags? I really don’t think they know any better.

    • Jamal
    • August 9th, 2011

    I’m saying they “owe” black people anything but when an artist claims that they represent the “people” and the “hood”, then we need to ask and question them on what exactly are they doing for the “people” and the “hood”. They’ve gotten rich off of promoting themselves as being a product of an environment to which they contribute next to nothing. Jay Z is always talking about Marcy projects, then I’m asking how many young people from Marcy went to college on his dime and how many black owned businesses can say they got their start from Jay Z or other rappers for that matter.
    I’m not saying this to be definitive but judging from their lyrics more rappers have taken their money and reinvested it in the drug game, rather than scholarships and supporting black businesses. What I’m saying is that if this is what they continue to stand for, then yes we can knock the hustle.

  12. Chuck D! ……..lessons! Knaye n Jay-z been Whack! ohwell! ignorance is bliss! WE will all come b4 judgement! fuc whut they ain’t doin, what can we do! besides each one teach one!

  13. My Man Chuck…If not him , ‘Who’? if not now ‘When’, much respect,’fo real’

  14. it’s sad to see people speak like this and attack the top of the hill, kanye & jay-z are so far removed from this cause it’s rediculous to even speak on, when’s the last time you seen kanye or jay-z at your local area club? c’mon man, waka, jim jones, d-block, etc are kats you need to be speaking on, they are in the streets influencing the youth, not kanye & jay-z……. you haven’t been able to touch jay-z or kanye physically in 10 years. don’t outkast hiphop, it’s only going to come back to bite your ass…… embrace and understand what people are on and why they are on that. allow music & hiphop to grow. opinions like this is part of what blocked up hiphop to date, you got a million hiphopper’s that can’t sell a song/record nowhere, because of the negative opinions. embrace, let it grow, understand. don’t outkast & kill it.

    • Jamal
    • August 10th, 2011

    If this is considered to be the “top of the hill” in entertainment and we should embrace them, then we are literally done as a people. Fried, baked and filleted. If we don’t critique and offer our opinions on their talents, then who are we as a people? Those guys ^^^^^^ you just named are taking the materialistic, half gangster/half pimp role to try and get where artists such as Jay Z and Kanye West are. Is this the road we should be embracing?

    • romil
    • August 10th, 2011

    I agree with Chuck 100% these dudes are ignorant, and by the looks of it when it all falls down. These dudes got there plan together. While most of yall blind sheep following these wolves. Theyll be somewhere in Egypt or something when this country is turned over.

  15. the only way out is to over through illuminatti hw can u help…

  16. stufid nukkaz

    • Nicole R.
    • August 11th, 2011

    Why would any one listen to these douches when there is so much better hip hop out there, seriously people!! take your asses to the record store!!

    • kate uk
    • August 11th, 2011

    Unattainable lifestyles seriously lacking in virtue. It’s not rocket science. Let’s hope the bling class begin to listen to people like Chuck D. Ego is the enemy.

    • Anonymous
    • August 12th, 2011

    I used to not pay attention to Georgia O’Keefe until I read a quote “I could of been a great artist for all times, but would I have been a good artist for my time.” Never bought a vinyl of K.west, stop with JZ after ‘dead prez’, I just think its that boring negroid rich shit. Like Ob..a.

  17. Music is all that matters. If they don’t give a fuck so be it, but who is to say their eyes aren’t open. I don’t see that there was direct confrontation to the successful artist who have EARNED their money. Bash them for not coming to EVERYONE in this worlds rescue because you have a problem with money, or got laid off. They aren’t Gods, but human beings like you and I. They are aware, the whole world is aware. People, which is exactly who these artist truly are, can spend their money how they please. Yes I understand that there are tragedies in this world that money seems to be the only solution to fix, but that with time it’ll heal. NOT hounding people who may not be giving as much as you feel they should. Oh, and about racism, honestly that term is skewed to todays society. Everything is racist, everything is prejudice.These gentleman at least have the strength and will to do what you people will( YES you people, RACIST? ) you could but don’t because you are weak and uncomfortable in your own skin. They do not owe anyone anything. They give us inspiration and a rhythm to carry on to. Jayz and Kanye are great artist, just accept it. Everyone should know not to listen to TMZ, right because it’s all bullshit. Well this blog is along the line of TMZ, haven’t you have anything better to do then bash two people who probably don’t give a fuck about the famous life or your life but just want to live their life doing what they love. If you don’t like it, don’t listen.

    • Anonymous
    • August 12th, 2011

    This economy is going to suck with or without their money.

    • Kevin
    • August 12th, 2011

    in reading most of the comments i can tell a lot of you either dont folllow or listen to jay-z or kanye west. the music isn’t all about cars and money so don’t get it confused. just because thats what you hear in the single doesn’t mean thats all of their content. listen to “murder to excellence” off of Watch The Throne and tell me chuck D is 100% right.

    jay-z also has a long history of philanthropic efforts so please do some digging before you claim he doesn’t circulate his money back into the community. most of you are just agreeing with no evidence that what you are agreeing to is accurate.

    • Jamal
    • August 12th, 2011

    Honestly, I think Chuck D and most of the commentators are spot on with their assessment. Just because Jay Z and Kanye sprinkle a bit of common sense in their rhymes doesn’t negate the other 95% of nonsense. Most entertainers have done very little in the area of philanthropy and I think it’s an insult to suggest the small bit they give should have us all happy. In reality, they’re efforts to achieve the other man’s dream far outweighs their contributions towards the dreams of their people.

    • Kevin
    • August 12th, 2011

    the simple fact that you consider 95% of their rhymes nonsense shows that you don’t listen to the music. you are just a commentator who doesn’t listen for themselves and make his/her own judgement. how about you listen to the album cover to cover and then comment instead of just regurgitating what dr. boyce and chuck D have to say? chuck D has paid his dues and has been involved in activism enough that i agree that he has a right to speak out on something like this but he’s a little off base here.

    just a few of the efforts jay has been involved in in the past decade to benefit black people and others worldwide (in case you didn’t know):
    $1 million given to the red cross in the aftermath of Katrina
    UN mission to Africa to raise awareness on the importance of clean drinking water
    Support for Obama in the ’08 campaign
    Currently giving proceeds from merch sold through his website to cancer research

    its insulting to expect anything more than the music from artists these days (while most people just steal it) and its even more insulting to consider what they do give “not enough”.

    • Anonymous
    • August 13th, 2011

    well it time too stand up and be counted black is the thing to be i wont wont to be any thing esl ask for thies so call rapers 50 and the likes of them wont change and dont wont to see any 1 ele change they put a token black man think it will keep us happy it wont couse he ant helping us he withe them is time we revolt they have too lising to us it takes a mil strong black man too be counted so dont count ur self out
    too black too strong pice 1 love

  18. In the in ya face world of popular culture right now in this moment in time is getting a wake up call. The release of this song coincided with the London riots where a bunch of lost disenfranchised Youth went hell bent on nicking Kicks, Adidas and Iphones etc. The influence of celebs/musos on popular culture is wide and immense….and KanJay could use their reach in a much more prolific way….but if they started preaching healthy truth in their lyrics our next question would be…are they backing it up and walking their talk? The money they get is from ppl like us I personally believe its part of the deal to recirculate it back into the people.Dayum….if all those moneyed up celebs put their heads hearts and hands together and put the money where the mouth is IMAGINE what they could do!! Lady Gaga is a good example of a star that truly engages her fans and is on the level. She immerses herself in her art and is not that fussed about the trappings of the money. The girl is only 25 and I can guarantee she will keep evolving into an even more giving caring person. Problem with KanJay is they believe their own hype. More and More as world events unfold on the collective human family…. the bullshit is becoming glaringly obvious & polarised and we will naturally call it out and turn our backs on it.

    • bob wire
    • August 13th, 2011

    As black folk, we keep some hate on our tongues (or keyboard in his case).

    • stephen
    • August 13th, 2011

    what is this with ”Chuck is onto something”
    He has been since years now. Himself, Professor Griffin, K.R.S.1 (Doctor King) have (had) their minds open for years now. Why did some many people got confused by the years… to say it as Chuck does DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE and read what this people have to say in their books!

    • JAY
    • August 14th, 2011

    Anyone who knows hip hop realizes that hip hop is from the streets, in the streets you may have people who brag about having more than another…if I can’t go out and get what the next person has, I may be called a hater, each individual has an individual resposibility to better your self in whatever lane you choose, do not knock the next person if they have created a lane that works for them, if you don’t like the music, don’t buy it. It is up to them and their own concious as to what they do with what they have, personally, I don’t need as much as they have to do what I do. “Rapper’s Delight”, one of the most classic songs, the song brags about things that they probably could not afford back then, “What’s the difference between then and now, Huh?…Is it wrong now because we as a people have reached a level where it is real now…Watch yourselves….

      • Anonymous
      • August 19th, 2011

      The difference is that the World has changed …we have bigger issues like the Environment to contend with…and we need all hands on deck to avert disaster….Not all hands on ‘decks’ trying to be the next big thing. Peace.

  19. hating or constructive criticism?

  20. If “hating” the blatent disrespect of my community is wrong then I don’t wanna be right..hear me out @

    • Anonymous
    • August 15th, 2011

    i agree with most of the article, but i don’t think you can judge diddy for what he chooses to buy for his child. most parents probly give their children 50 times what they gave to haiti, if they gave haiti anything.

      • Anonymous
      • August 17th, 2011

      Got a point there Anonymous!! But I guess Chuck’s point was why buy something that at the end of the day holds no value where helping a country that is already a thin line from extinction holds more value than anything.

    • MoSean
    • August 15th, 2011

    Long OVERDUE!!! Should’ve been highlighted and said A LONG TIME BACK!! nOw maybe TOO late!!!Jayz and Kanye are firmly in the grips of the illuminated hypnotisers selling our children out for a robotic future!!

    • Anonymous
    • August 15th, 2011

    Nigga, please.


    • anonymous
    • August 16th, 2011

    Chuck D is talking to YOU, not the “real” Jay-ye-Z, but the IMAGE you have of it/them in your head. Some of you young’uns get this, the rest are treating it like an editorial (old media).

    Chuck D contributed greatly to who I am today, but let’s be real: he’s blogging to a beat that I hope he doesn’t get sued over. He invented the concept of a “black CNN” that many older Heads still take stock in, but that model is played out for tweets and ephemeral bursts of digital opinion, including the words you are reading right… NOW.

    How YOU elevate and contextualize that simple fact is your business.

  22. i luv this man…as he is %1000000000000…

  23. (in my Ice cube voice) he is %1000000000000…

    • Lester Marrow
    • August 17th, 2011

    We need Chuck D back in hip hop dishin lyrics to the people on a main stream again.

    In any event Chuck D recognizes the big pink
    elephant in the room that most choose to ignore.

    • Jamal
    • August 17th, 2011

    In one way, I feel as if artists need to address issues and I do think this is important. At the same time, they’re entertainers.
    As a people we have to get away from expecting anything special from people who sing and dance for a living. True, many artists have created and continue to promote thought provoking messages but we shouldn’t count on this.
    We need to take our focus away from these rappers and look to promote the message of teachers, scientists, businessmen and thinkers from our community.

  24. Thx to Baronhawk for posting this on his wall!

    • othello
    • August 17th, 2011

    Reel, your entire comment sounds foolish and ignorant, you obviously don’t get it and need to educate yourself on the plight of african americans from the past and present.

    • Jamal
    • August 18th, 2011

    Very interesting and timely thoughts from the group but I want to add. If we’re waiting for rap artists to provide a message and save our people, we’re doomed.

    • Anonymous
    • August 18th, 2011

    J-Z and Kanye are doing exactly what they want to do. They know what they are doing is a disservice to our people. They dont care their souls have been sold. They are right in line with the plan. You cant tell me that they dont know. All you have to do is listen to J’s songs. He flirts it right in your face. When the sword of JUSTICE comes they are going down with their Masters.


    • pbt
    • August 18th, 2011

    Hip-Hop itself is a culture and it is rooted in and expresses black culture. Anyone can rap. Vanilla Ice can rap. The Rapping Granny can rap. There is a difference between rap and Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop itself was basically driven out of the music industry by rich Jews who gave record deals to criminals. There was far too much consciousness going on when Public Enemy made Fight the Power and this had to be stopped. The influx of the images and misogyny came when the west coast came in with their Gangsta Rap. This was not Hip-Hop which is why it was called Gansgta Rap. The people like KRS-One and the innovative people from the east coast who were tackling real issues and bringing information to young people and essentially politicizing them were pushed out and weren’t getting deals. This is what compelled so many like Puffy to jump on the bandwagon and bring in the dumbed down lyrics and unconscious recordings as well as the repetitive hypnotic tracks that seduced so many into the idiocy. Hip-Hop cannot be blamed for that. Hip-Hop innovators like Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Common etc., despite this influx, still stayed true to form. You can hear real music there, talent and creativity. You can also see a consciousness that follows in the footsteps of Gil Scott Heron and The last Poets. So let’s not get the history twisted.

    • Anonymous
    • August 18th, 2011


  25. What are YOUR kids listening to?? While I appreciate the views, why do we have to wait for Chuck to address what we’ve known for years? Education does after all start in the home…does it not?

    • Anonymous
    • August 19th, 2011

    I dont think Jay and Ye are evil and tryna make ppl feel bad…they are prolly still the same little boys on the inside they were when they were pulling on their mamas apron BUT as Men they need to suck it up and be real aware of the influence they have…… the powerful with topple by they own hand if they dont wake up……

    • Dreg
    • August 19th, 2011

    Chuck needs to chill. Just because an artist is successful, it doesn’t mean they are obligated to save the world, their community, or whatever. Yeah, it would be a kind gesture, but it shouldn’t HAVE to be their main focus when exercising their creativity…. no matter where they come from or who they are. An artist lives to create and inspire the only way they know how. It’s unfair to shun them for not doing it they way YOU would if you were in their position. The fact is, you’re not. So, give them some room and let them do them.

    • Ari
    • August 21st, 2011

    Sorry Chuck you went after the wrong rappers…I don’t think he listened to the album. People really need to listen to the body of work…you don’t read one scene of Hamlet and claim to know what Shakespeare is talking about..Jay and Ye’s raps are social commentaries on their lives and ours…and the first thing about social commentary is being true to yourself. They explored their truths in 12+ songs not 1..The album title subjects they are kings, life of a King (for emphasis read as President) involves ceremonial and executive duties, excuse them if they can buy 100 bottles of Ace for a party, why lie in a “How I spent my summer” essay? It doesn’t mean after all the parties they don’t work to enrich their communities, and by enrich I don’t just mean money.

    The works of these men really needs to be taught in class for people to get it, they are on some Ozymandias tip for real…but oh no it’s rap not poetry, how dare they teach it in class…I’ll just pick a few lines from one of the songs that actually sends out a positive message to the “black community”
    Look a man dead in his eyes so he know you talk truth/
    ( a lesson in honesty, and decorum )
    When you speak it, give your word, keep it/
    ( a lesson in integrity amongst others )
    And if the day comes I only see him on the weekend/
    I just pray we was in love on the night that we conceived him/
    ( God forbid he has a divorce, his child would have been born of love not lust – far from baby momma drama )
    Promise to never leave him even if his mama tweakin’/
    ( In his former words, N***as be a father, you killing your sons, translation BE THERE )
    Cause my dad left me and I promise never repeat him/
    ( He won’t walk out on my family like his father did )
    … Tell me that is not lesson enough for the “black community”, everything there are real life issues plaguing the “black community” and that is not even a complete song yet….People need to stop hearing these guys and truly listen..

    Yo Chuck, do you break a smile in these times or throw/attend a party??? I hear these are hard times, we shouldn’t indulge…haha

    HipHop is not economic or political…it is truly social, that is why you can find it in any country and culture around the world… and these guys address society it might not be in a straightforward manner, but we can’t be spoon fed everything,

  26. Chuck D is one of the brightest minds in the black community? Are you kidding me? Come on. If this is true, then there’s really no hope for us. I believe he is an intelligent man, but definitely not one of the brightest minds that we have. This type of narrow hyperbole is part of the mindless rot encouraged by American culture. Unless you’re an athlete, a musician, an actor or entertainer – you have no visibility platform or respect in American culture. This is expecially true in the black community. Chuck D has made a valid point, but where was his voice and the voice of other musicians when hip-hop got hijacked by corporate interests and they began pushing the musical equivalent of crack on our children and youth? What’s the point of waiting until you’re past your prime to take a risk and buck the system that feeds you?

    • Anonymous
    • August 22nd, 2011

    We could do without the industrial prison nonsense though. Just sayin’…

  27. YEAH…….BOYEE………

    • Jason Morrison
    • September 8th, 2011

    Chuck D, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Mos Def.

    That is all.

  28. Chuck D is not one of the brightest minds in the black community.

    there are far brighter and far more brave men and women who will likely never be heard – in EVERY ethnic and cultural community – because of the ridiculous notion that in order to be heard you have to be famous.

    Being famous means you were – to some degree – lucky, well marketed, easy to exploit for monetary gain, talented, skilled or some combination of those.

    That being said it’s unfortunate that nowadays we are being swamped with “role models” ranging from money-grubbing athletes to singers with zero moral credibility.

    I am actually pretty happy that there are people out there (like Chuck D, Talib Kweli, Bruce Springsteen, The Roots, etc.) that make a ton of money, but still use their success as a platform from which to talk about important issues rather than big houses and fancy cars.

  29. Ms. Victory :Yeah, its so sad really for the young black man….I don’t even listen to Jayz or Kanyes music anymore.


    • Anonymous
    • December 3rd, 2011

    I miss Public Enemy, and movement it enabled. God speed Black Community. Kayne and Chris brown have no conscience or understanding. It’s a sad day for us all – including the whites and others who have to live here. Too bad for us all.

    • Anonymous
    • April 27th, 2012

    The real rappers like chuck d, krs-1, and nwa, that either called for change, or at least pointed out societies problems are not being given any national attention these days, it’s just the fake ass house niggers like Kanye and Jay-Z. It seems like it’s so much that way that it’s by design. I wouldn’t be surprised if we someday find out that Kanye and Jay-Z are connected to the CIA.

  30. It sounds like he is upset at their success as he has no real reason to assert that they don’t employ, donate, and contribute to the betterment of others. To say they are selfish based on their material success and rap boasting comes off as bitter. I’m not a fan of it as much, but “Swag Rap” has it’s place and has been around since the beginning. To talk about how dope you are, what you have, and where you are going has always been Hip-Hop.

    Do Jay-Z and Kanye have the minds and will to be Cultural dynamo’s or Activist or whatever expectation he would have for them (that don’t matter)? They are rappers that are growing in their business, showing how not to be a slave to a label, showing how to turn a crappy deal to a financial independence for their future generations. Chuck needs to find better targets. J

    ay-Z’s song Moment of Clarity put it all in perspective for me and made me respect him that much more…The line in the second verse on changing his content to fit his audience and profiting and wanting to rap more conscious, but figured what is more important is that you can’t help the poor if you are one of them, so he got rich and gave back that’s a win/win…Probably his best verse Ever. This is why and where he can touch places in the younger generation that Chuck D never could…

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  31. J’ai 37 ans .
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  32. bonsoir je suis Elita
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