Chuck D., one of the founders of seminal hip-hop group Public Enemy, will address the Red Bull Music Academy this weekend in Barcelona.
The Red Bull Music Academy is a conference put on by the energy drink maker. This is the 10th year anniversary of the event with past speakers having included M.I.A., ?uestlove and King Britt.
“I’m going to be up there talking about music, life, the digital explosion and my company Bring the Noise Eastlink,” said Chuck D. as he was preparing to leave for his flight.
Chuck D. has long voiced his displeasure with the major labels and he remains convinced that the majors are not long for this world. He takes issue with the SanDisk’s recently announced slotMusic, which puts DRM-free music on microSD cards. “I think the dumbest people have to reside at the remaining record labels. That memory card is the dumbest f*cking thing I’ve ever seen.”
Part of Chuck D.’s vitriol can be attributed to the fact that he plans on introducing a device that would compete with slotMusic. Announced earlier this year, the music player is called the Vamp, which stands for Virtual Album MP3 Player. Vamps will be in stores next year and will be packaged with CDs, said Chuck D. The device will have 2 gigabites of flash memory, be the size of a credit card, come with headphones, have the ability to add additional MP3s, and retail for around $15.
“Digital is not going anywhere but people want a flexible physical device,” said Chuck D. “The iPod is more of a permanent device.”
The Vamp will be made by Media Street, an electronics manufacturer.
In addition to running his label, SlamJamz, lecturing and recording, Chuck D. is also prepping for the release of an authorized autobiography, “Don’t Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin’: The Authorized Story of Public Enemy” by Russell Myrie. The title is set for release in the U.K. this fall and the U.S. next spring.
“I always try to make rap and hip hop have the legitimacy and potential that rock has. We shouldn’t expect some sugar daddy tp come and organize us,” he said. “I want people to look at Nelly as much as they would a Ray Charles. You want people to revere their artists.”