Public Enemy, Minus Flav, Still Pushing Buttons
Public Enemy is back on the road, but prominent group member Flavor Flav is back in a place that's unfortunately too familiar: jail. Flav, whose real name is William Drayton, was arrested in New YorkPublic Enemy is back on the road, but prominent group member Flavor Flav is back in a place that's unfortunately too familiar: jail. Flav, whose real name is William Drayton, was arrested in New York for a parole violation stemming from an earlier vehicular infraction. He is currently being housed at the George Motchan Detention Center on Riker's Island and is due in court tomorrow (Sept. 20). The rapper has previously been arrested for felony gun possession and criminal mischief.
It is not known when Flav could potentially re-join PE on its current tour, which kicked off last night in Pittsburgh. The group, with support from Blackalicious and Dilated Peoples, has dates scheduled through Oct. 10 in San Francisco.
Any concerns that the seminal, sociopolitical hip-hop act would soften its stance 15 years into its career were put to rest quickly via the recent Slam Jamz/In The Paint release "Revolverlution" and the video for the single "Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need," which was banned by MTV. PE frontman Chuck D. tells Billboard.com this latest controversial skirmish is just another example of fighting the powers that be.
"Because we had visual and audio references to freeing Mumia Abul-Jamal and H. Rap Brown, [MTV] wanted all of the video references removed, and we said f*** it," Chuck D. says. "They came back and said you can keep it in but just take the word 'free' out, which became funnier. You don't tell a black man to take the word 'free' out of his song. What are you talking about?"
Chuck D., Flavor Flav, and Professor Griff ended a three-year layoff with the 14-track "Revolverlution," which contains eight new tracks, four fan-created remixes of PE hits selected via a contest held on the group's Slamjamz.com Web site, and three live songs recorded on a 1999 tour.
From an act that created such riotous anthems of rebellion as
"Fight The Power," "Public Enemy #1," and "By the Time I Get to Arizona," Public Enemy continues the tradition on the new track "Son of a Bush," which finds Chuck D. pointing his barbed rhymes at other hip-hop artists, empty patriotism, and President George W. Bush.
"I think a lot of people in the rap music community are robots and puppets, who do as they are told," Chuck D. says. "Where in the past, they were rebellious to certain things and they had a mind of their own. So, it's not so much the hip-hop or rap community, it could be the black community in general. Being a person who is a world traveler, I've seen that America has had an arrogant foreign policy, especially now with 'Son of a Bush.' So, I decided to make a statement about it. I have an artistic right."
On the road, Public Enemy is redefining the hip-hop live show by mixing "the most furious combination of band, DJ, and orchestration that they have ever seen. I think the future of PE is to continue to make a statement to show groups they can take another road and have options to do other things with their music, other than what the commercial market dictates it to be."