September 7, 2012


Public Enemy Refused Jay-Z's Offer to Play Made in America Fest

Scott Legato
Scott Legato

Public Enemy's Chuck D—who will take on everything from the media to the memory of Elvis—has never been one to compromise his views to make them more palatable. But even after 25 years of riling people up, Chuck D still managed to turn a few heads last month when he spoke dismissively of Jay-Z and Kanye West.

"I like those guys, but they make me laugh sometimes because I don’t get who they’re here for, other than themselves," the Public Enemy rapper said of Jay and 'Ye. In a separate interview, he further explained his reservations toward the duo: "Watch the Throne, is that or is it not some kind of king sh-t? It’s like it’s some Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Louis XVI type sh-t. Man, f--k a king—unless it’s Martin Luther."

Well, it looks like Chuck D was willing to put his money where his morals are, because the PE frontman said he turned down Jay-Z's offer to play the Made in America festival. And while we don't know the particulars of the offer, it's safe to assume that declining the money and increased visibility that come with playing Jay-Z's inaugural music fest is a pretty bold move.

His decision to abstain is inimitably independent, as always: "I know I'm made in America but I'm really made on the planet," he told Canadian radio. "I'm not made by America." Even if those don't sound like reasonable doubts to you, rest assured Chuck D knows what he's doing. "We like to protest and be difficult," he admitted. "But I salute [Jay-Z] for bringing rap music to the forefront and for Run-DMC to get that slot."

So yes, it would have undeniably ruled to see Public Enemy alongside Run-DMC's first set in 13 years, but you have to respect Chuck D for sticking to his principles. After all, this is the MC who famously said, "Rap is black America's CNN." And when you're listening to Kanye and Hova, hip hop sounds a lot more like MTV Cribs or the Home Shopping Network.