Chuck D sat down with Nick Huff Barili of Hard Knock TV, in collaboration with www.GRAMMY.com for an in-depth interview. In part 1, Chuck talks writing process, bomb squad, artists leaving major record labels + More.
Words From Chuck D
“In 1998, it was just time. Time to leave. Rick Ruben had left in ’89 and Russell and everybody had ventured off to somewhere else, and we saw no way to grow and also be part of the new phase, which is, the internet. We started PublicEnemy.com in 1998, the longest-running internet situation for a rap artist. Beastie Boys started before us, and I think that’s it. You can do something innovative, but if you don’t have people on the other side to be able to present it and catch it with the technology, then you could be, you know, on you mark get set go, but you’re in the desert, so to make that long story short, we left Def Jam in 1998, but we put things in place to ease us into the transition of the millennium and knew that the big companies would try to seize that, ’cause they felt that it cannibalized their industry, and now it’s, you know, it’s, it’s an afterthought when people say, oh, yeah, I’m gonna get online and, I’m part of this thing and I’m with iTunes and all of that and, so it’s just, like, second-nature, especially artists that have grown up in it. But with us, we had to figure out, where we were gonna be, where we came from and how would that also gel with the thing that we do, and that’s physically being live in front of an audience. At the end of the day, your recording is a business card for your performance. It has to advertise who you are. So we are not gonna be defined by a recording. We’re gonna be defined by us making the recordings, and that’s one thing we had to totally flip into after 1999. We will make this recording. This recording won’t make us, but we had 10 years under our belt, too, in our favor.” -Chuck D