CHUCK D
Interview by Wayne Chinsang
Illustration by Paul Lau

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AS FRONTMAN OF THE LEGENDARY GROUP PUBLIC ENEMY, CHUCK D HAS NEVER BEEN ONE TO BITE HIS TONGUE. THROUGH LYRICS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, HE HAS ATTEMPTED TO SPREAD BOTH HIS WORD AND KNOWLEDGE TO THE MASSES FOR NEARLY TWENTY YEARS NOW. MORE RECENTLY, HE DID THE SAME WITH OUR VERY OWN WAYNE CHINSANG.
 
Wayne Chinsang: Congratulations on the new album [New Whirl Odor]. Has the feedback been good from everybody so far?
 
Chuck D: Yeah, the feedback on our albums is always good. I mean, even if people consider them mixed or whatever. But youíve got to understand, I take the total feedback from across the world. Itís not like Iím living and dying waiting for what American press has to say. Youíll have a good review in XXL, and then a warm review in The Source, and an alright review in Spin, and a great review in Entertainment Weekly. So hey, what can I say? Youíve just got to keep doing your thing and take everything with a grain of salt. You know what youíve done before you release it, because you work with a lot of other people. So your number one obligation is that itís okay before it leaves out of here.
 
WC: How did you approach this new album as opposed to albums in the past? Was it any different, or is your thought process pretty much the same when you approach every album?
 
CD: Well, in the initial design of an album you have ideas, and then you have to select the music. But this one was kind of different, because it was alongside the maturing of our studios. And the fact that we have four studios kind of in lock with each other, technology has really allowed the producers all to work together in a Motown-ish kind of way: collaborating on each otherís tracks, finishing up, adding on, mixing, mastering. It worked kind of like a unit. So we was able to have an almost Bomb Squad-ish approach again. And that was something that was hard to do because of the access to the studios. When we had access to studios before, it had to be based on a limited time. So you had to adhere to whoever made that track to have that particular time. But when you have your own facilities, then everybody can share, and you donít have to produce by the clock.
 
WC: So, critics and journalists can wax intellectually about the sound of Public Enemy, but what do you feel the evolutionary step was in the creation of New Whirl Odor?
 
CD: Well, weíve never done two albums alike. And thatís something that I think, if a new person comes along and decides to cover us, they wonít really understand. Even people back in the day never understood, because as soon as we found something that really was a hot little sound or whatever, we never stuck with it. No one can say, like, "Public Enemy is just stuck with noise," or whatever. Itís not that simple. Thereís new notes, thereís different techniques for every album that we did. There was never two albums alike. That was our motto, like the rock 'n' roll credo: never repeat yourself. That was our whole thing, and it still is. A lot of people that follow hip-hop, they didnít get that whole pattern of going about albums until Outkast came along. Then all of a sudden people was like, "Oh, wow!" You know? People didnít know that that was our thing. So when we took a different approach with each album, it was even abandoning what we did with the previous album, and some people just thought, like, "Well, they lost the sound." How the fuck you gonna lose a sound that you created?

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