Chuck D: 'Hip-Hop Is Part Of Rock & Roll'

The Public Enemy rapper defended their forthcoming induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and promises to "tear the damn place down" when they perform at the ceremony.

Ultimate Guitar

Rapper Chuck D has defended Public Enemy's place in the 2013 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony.

Public Enemy officially formed in around 1986 with the help of producer Rick Rubin, and were a huge cultural influence thanks to their politically charged rap. Last week they were confirmed as inductees to the Hall Of Fame alongside the likes of Rush and Heart.

"Hip-hop is a part of rock & roll because it comes from DJ culture," Chuck told Rolling Stone. "DJ culture is the embodiment of all genres and all recorded music, if you actually pay attention to it."

He is grateful to be recognised for Public Enemy's achievements. "I'm very fortunate to be acknowledged by my peers," he says. "I take this very seriously... I know that a hall of fame is very different than an award for being the best of the year. It's a nod to the longevity of our accomplishment."

The induction ceremony on April 18 next year will be one to remember, because Chuck promises to "tear that damn place down."

"People will be shaking their heads like, 'What the f--k is going on?' That's the ability of what I consider probably one of the greatest performing bands in hip-hop history," he said. "It's not bragging, because I don't brag about myself, but my guys are the best in the business."

What do you think of Public Enemy's place in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? Have you been influenced by their music? Let us know in the comments.

152 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Petey D
    Lots of respect for PE, even though I'm not a fan of the genre. I think there should definately be a place in the HOF for them.
    Doesn't the HOF has a special category set aside purely for "Rock N Roll Influences"? I think Public Enemy would make more sense to be inducted that way, along with a lot of these other controversial inductions like Donna Summer, Madonna...etc. I think its safe to say these acts do not fall within the Rock genre, but their resulting influence from within the rock genre is completely obvious. The HOF could have saved themselves the majority of its credibility if it simply did a better job keeping a distinction between these 2 types of inductions= 1. Rock N Roll Acts 2. Rock N Roll Influences
    YES!!!!! Chuck D you are a legend along with the rest of Public Enemy. If a band plays rock music with rapping over the top it sure as hell deserves to be called Rock n Roll. Unless Beastie Boys and RATM aren't rock either.
    RATM and beastie boys are rock since they include guitar bass and drums that they play, not sample.
    basically, this, a whole big argument over nothing and here is the only thing that matters, do they play instruments
    Not bashing Public Enemy, but there are several bands that could have been inducted in their place like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest that are actually rock musicians. But, at the end of the day, I'm just glad Rush is finally getting inducted.
    Rap is the same as singing just without as much creativity.
    Some hip hop is good. Some is bad. Just like rock music. What a surprise.
    exactly. i really hate it when people say that rap sucks and then cite shit like Nikki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Soulja Boy etc as if they are the embodiment of rap music. Its the equivalent of saying "ive listened to Nickelback, Good Charlotte and The All American Rejects and i can honestly say that rock music is terrible"
    No it isn't. Because it's only your spoken voice you have to be much more creative. A talented singer can take one average sentence and turn it into a great line with their memorable voice. A rapper has to weave a story full of double entendres and word play in order to get your attention. At least that's what good rappers and hip-hop artists do.
    I seriously stopped trying to explain that rappers can have talent around here. You mention a rap artist, then 5 minutes later someone appears and says he's never gonna be as good as Rush. *sigh*
    Some rappers are terrible, but contrary to popular UG belief, some are actually really talented.
    B-Boys are one of my all time fav bands, but they aren't rock. They have some PUNK songs, many of which I really like. This does not make them a rock band. Public Enemy isn't a rock band, plain and simple.
    I agree that it is, but this reasoning: "Hip-hop is a part of rock & roll because it comes from DJ culture" "DJ culture is the embodiment of all genres and all recorded music, if you actually pay attention to it." Is stupid
    Hiphop is not that "bling bling" as people think. It's as if Tokio Hotel would be a representation of all Rock-music. Hiphop is nice!
    The "bling bling" thing cracked me up. Anyway, Chuck is simply a myth. One of the most recognizable and skilled rappers of all time.
    I saw Public Enemy perform about two weeks ago, and the DJ that had been spinning for all the other acts left when they came on, and they brought out a guitarist, bassist, and drummer. There's a lot of hip hop that still works on the basis and framework of rock. They just happen to rap over the music instead of singing.
    That's the oldschool rap, the guys that kept it real. Nowadays is full of awful mainstream MTV show "hosts" who make rap look like shit. There hasn't be a genre where the "sellout" argument fit more than in rap. PS: FINALLY EDIT BUTTON, THANKS UG!
    two weeks ago everyone was up in arms about public enemy even being nominated, now everyones congratulating them saying they've earned their spot.
    If they want to be part of any hall of fame, create a Hip Hop Hall of Fame. Im not dissing them in the least bit but they're not rock and roll. the rock and roll hall of fame is a joke anyway, but the guitar and instruments have been synonomous with rock and roll since its intecption. and thats just something they dont use
    Actually, have you heard of the S1Ws? No, clearly you haven't, because it would seem most people here refuse to listen to hip-hop. The S1Ws are PE's live band, headed by Professor Griff, who returned to the group recently after going to Mecca and realizing his antisemitism was incredibly stupid and he changed himself. . . the whole, he's not a jerk anymore thing was a bit tangential, but anyway, the point is Public Enemy has a band, so even if your argument was valid, it would not be valid, just as with the Roots, Naz, and many other hip-hop groups. In fact, the Roots have who I believe may be the best guitarist ever. Bullya-kacha!
    the roots are amazing, anyone saying rap has no instrumental value needs to look harder. public enemy, the roots, mos def, k-os and i believe even a tribe called quest all record and tour with a live band. lots of rap and hip hop acts draw influence from many different genres, including rock. and like many people are saying, theres definitely groups in the hall that are much less rock and roll than public enemy.
    Hip Hop has influenced rock though. I'm not talking about in the sense of "This band made me want to play music" either. It has actually influenced subgenres of rock musically. Nu Metal comes to mind. There are also songs from bands like Incubus (See: Pardon Me) that take influence from hip hop.
    Well, the reception in this thread sure surprised the hell out of me. Usually they're chalk full of people who thought the Hall of Fame had any integrity to ruin in the first place.
    I love rap and hip hop to the heart but how would the hip hop community feel if Aerosmith is inducted into a Hip Hop Hall of Fame for letting Run DMC remix "Walk This Way"? Shit just doesn't make any sense, you know.
    Chuck D is a legend and one of the best rappers out there even now, Public Enemy's first 4 albums are all classics and that is reason enough that they should be in the HOF, not to mention that they are one of the most influential groups of all time.
    I think just the name "Public Enemy" is pretty rock and roll. It's rebellion, it's saying **** the system, and that's pretty much the foundation of early rock from elvis shaking his hips on TV, to the Who smashing their guitars. PE might be a hip-hop act, but their overall attitude is definitely rock at its essence
    so if a band made good music, but wasn't saying **** the system they'd have no place in the hall of fame?
    You know what the sad thing is...Public Enemy beat out real rock bands like KISS and Deep Purple for this...but it is something I expect from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...such a corrupt institution.
    Letting hip hop artists into the rock and roll hall of fame is like letting system of a down into the hip hop hall of fame (if there is one) because they can sing quite fast, rhyme, and tell a story while doin the previous two on multiple occasions within their music, and its stupid because that will never happen, so why should a hip hop artist be inducted into a hall of fame it does not belong in.
    I knew this article would get a whole bunch of down votes. I think Public Enemy rightfully deserves the R&R HoF spot. They were one of the main Hip-Hop acts helping bridge it with rock and metal.
    yeah... just like dubsteb is a part of rock because muse used it in their songs? get real man...
    If someone were to include low bass wobbles in, for the most part, a "rock" track I think it could definitely count. There's definitely been a lot of electronic and classical elements in a lot of rock already. Muse pretty much blatantly said they just wanted to make a Skrillex song on guitar though, which is pretty much what they got so yeah I wouldn't count that. At least they didn't try to pass it off as rock or anything.
    Dubstep hasn't influenced a ton of rock bands as of yet, and there haven't really been many fusion tracks that aren't pretty much just mashups or dubstep with a guitar. So of course Dubstep doesn't go there as of now. It might later though. Especially considering more bands are becoming more open to experimenting with it and making songs that aren't basically just dubstep with a guitar. What influences a genre is just as important as the bands within that genre. I'm glad that they're covering rock history and including hip hop because of its influence in many bands, songs, and a fairly popular rock sub genre. Even if that subgenre was pretty bad, it was still a major part of rock music. That's what matters.
    "People will be shaking their heads like, 'What the f--k is going on?" I already did that when these guys were nominated.
    Hip hop is not rock & roll. Rock & roll is rock & roll. Hip hop is hip hop. Pretty simple. Is country rock & roll too? Or opera?
    Ever hear of rock operas, and yes Country and Rock & Roll have the same basic foundation.
    I'm just going to clarify something here. For the ignorant ones saying Public Enemy deserves the hall....above others not inducted and that rap belongs...fine. If rap belongs, then so do every other genre. Let's include a list of those that have not been inducted: Garth Brooks, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis JR, Deep Purple, Willie Nelson, Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Hall & Oates, The Cars, Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, Sonny & Cher, Chicago, Barry White, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Replacements, Iron Maiden, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, The Monkees, Journey...the list goes on and on. Tell me again how Public Enemy deserves the hall?
    Bad Company, The Carpenters, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, INXS, Megadeth, New York Dolls, Slayer, Peter Gabriel, Motorhead, Motley Crue, Steppenwolf, Thin Lizzy, Warren Zevon, Yes, The Zombies, War, Steve Miller Band...
    There are defiantly other acts that belong in the hall of fame if anything Run DMC deserve it more then Public enemy, no disrespect intended towards Public enemy, but Chuck D modeled public enemy after Run DMC who are in some ways the godfathers of rap music and as well as grand master flash
    I'm not a fan of hiphop, but Public Enemy has always been one of the better acts in my opinion, not to mention their influence. Chuch D made a good impression on Meat Loaf's last album.
    Alright, disregarding the HOF opinion, these guys and many other rap groups/artists certainly embrace the "Rock and roll culture" Public Enemy are as political as it gets, and that's what a lot of the rock genre is about! And there actually are good rap artists out there...Almost all of which don't fit the stereotype. Not everyone is Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa
    I still don't agree with this. If the Hall wants to bring in pop tarts, disco divas, and rap artists, it either needs to rename itself or create additions for the other genres. You shouldn't look for rap artists in a "Rock and Roll" hall any more than you should look for a tennis star in the NFL Hall of Fame. If there's a need for pop and rap halls, let them build their own.
    lol you say that as if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has EVER been different since its inception. It's funny how often people bust out this chestnut like it means anything . Do some research. By your logic, anything that's not Chuck Berry or something has no business in there. Sure, let's pretend 'roll and roll' is anything but a general term in 2012, and give every single genre its own hall of fame.
    lets pretend anyone outside a thread like this would refer to hip hop as rock, is that something that would happen in normal conversation? how would we start referring to what the rest of us seem to consider rock? are deep purple, led zep, chuck berry, whoever, hip hop now too?
    How about we get all the decent rock bands into the "rock and roll" half of fame before we start stealing from other genres. How about that?
    If he said "hip-hop" then yes I suppose it does have a relation. Bands like The Roots and other musicians who prefer live instruments prove that there is a connection though I'd argue that it's just as closely related (if not more so) to soul, funk, r&b and other styles synonymous with Motown. Rap on the other hand places much more emphasis on the spoken word than it does the beat behind it. It's closer related to poetry than it is to other musical forms like rock or pop.
    Iron Maiden deserves to be in the rock n roll hall of fame more than public enemy. cuz theyre actually rock n roll/heavy metal.
    "It's not bragging, because I don't brag about myself, but my guys are the best in the business." He's right. Bragging is just simply bragging. This is bragging and trying to make people think he's modest.
    You know what, I was going to go on about how lame I thought it was how a lot of people initially whined and complained about this, and now they've all switched boats, but by the time I got to the bottom of this ****ing page, I was so irritated by the god damn mother****ing comment box repeatedly running away from me, that I've lost any and all points I wanted to make. PUT IT AT THE FUCKING TOP, JESUS CHRIST UG.
    People should know that theres actaully a massive difference between Hip hop and Rap. There are 5 elements that make up hip hop. Proper Hip hop uses at least 2. Rap only uses rapping where as most Hip hop has Rapping, Sampling and Scratching. Eminem, Lil wayne, Nicki minaj and 50 cent are not hip hop artists at all. I think public enemy do belong there because countless rock bands cite them as a influence including nirvana, porcupine tree, slipknot, anthrax, nine inch nails, nofx and tons more. Its clear that they have influenced rock music in general
    My Last Words
    Rap only uses rapping ? There aint no genre called Rap. Rap is just a technique. And from the top of my head, Eminem did make use of a fair share of sampling, scratching and rapping, on the early records that is. I don't know that much about his current material other then the fact that he's a complete sell-out now. People should know that there is a massive difference between good hiphop and bad hiphop. Too bad most of em are smallminded f*ckers that base their "musical opinion" on what they hear on the radio and see on the TV, the same kids who go on YouTube commenting ""MY GENERATION SUCKS ERBODY AT SCHOOL LISTENS TO SHITTY HIPHOP LIKE LIL WAYNE AND NICKY MINAJ, AT LEAST MY PARENTS TAUGHT ME GOOD MUSIC " on every single classic rock video, and then think that they are special as hell.
    MyLastWords, I wish I could like your post multiple times. . . I'd marry your post.
    Actaully there is because Gangsta Rap is techincally a sub genre of hip hop which obviously really started with NWA. Its a big difference now. I wasn't talking about eminems early stuff as that stuff was good, i haven't actaully heard alot of his stuff now though because his just lost his edge. The thing is that calling nicki minaj hip hop is like calling Iron maiden death metal, Its close but in the heart we know theres a diffence even if its not a big one. I hate the people your on about because theres good music examples in every genre and theres still always good hip hop being made. People always like complaining about music but their too lazy to go find better music.
    Blatantly you have no idea what your on about & haven't research it all.
    I've been listening to hip hop since i was 5 mate. So i have. Say what you want but i know more about Hip hop than you do about sucking cocks mate.
    Honestly though dude. I ****ing love hip hop isn't that enough? I don't know everything.
    If you love hip hop then you should learn the history. Hip hop consists 5 elements which are: DJ, Graffiti, MC(Rap), Breaking(This include all kinds of street dance), and BeatBox. Those artists you refer are sadly hip hop artists, but they are mainstream. Those scratching/whatever you called, are the techniques in DJing.
    Hip hop is just another way of telling the same stories, love and loss, money, hard times growing up etc. the same stories rock and roll got from the blues
    take your damn rapapaparapa somewhere else... we dont need or want it anywhere near our rock n roll.
    Sorry but I personally dont see hip hop or rap as any form of Rock. Most of it I dont see as music. I can see it fitting partially into the Rock forum when they rip of a Rock riff and incorporate it into their "songs". But that's about it. Im sure I'll get modded down but like I said, that't just my opinion.
    Not liking hip hop = fine. Anyone who calls you out for that simple opinion is a douche. Writing off the entire genre and then hiding behind your 'opinion', different story.
    You're allowed to have your opinion, I won't censor you. Just know, your opinion is dumb, and potentially a little racist.
    I share WebStalkers opinion 100%, but since it doesn't match yours it's "dumb and potentially a little racist"? Has political correct speech and racism reached a point in 2012 that if I don't like a black musician it's because I'm potentially a little racist? I dislike plenty of music from white musicians too, wtf does that mean? I can't stand rap & hip hop no matter what color the person is that's making it.
    No. The opinion is dumb because there is no such thing as fake music. That's not an opinion. It's a fact. Because it falls under the definition of music.
    Where did you get the term "fake music"? Rap & Hip Hop aren't "fake music", they're just not music, fake or otherwise.
    Hold your Horses ... Rap can be creative too, you just have to listen to it, like Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Strange Fruit Project and the list goes on and on