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Hip Hop 50


Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 on Public Enemy's importance and legacy
Chali 2na
(Credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Chuck D once famously called hip-hop the CNN of the Black community, the way people got the news. Is it still? If so, what is the news coming across, who is telling it most profoundly?

Unfortunately, the majority of the musical element of hip-hop has become the exact opposite of what Chuck said. Imagine replacing CNN with Madea movies [Laughs]. But seriously, in my opinion, a lot of the music has become a parody of the worst stereotypes of the Black community. More exploitation than exploration, if you will.

Fifty years from now, in 2073, who will people still be talking about from hip-hop 2023? Who will have a lasting impact?

If the trajectory of hip-hop continues in the direction it’s going, then all those who have been murdered/martyred will be the first to be remembered. Again, this is my humble opinion.

Courtenay Henderson, aka Soup, of Jurassic 5

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Looking back over the last 50 years, who is an unsung hero, someone who made a big impact on hip-hop who doesn’t get credit? 

“Chuck D is for ‘dangerous,’ you can come and get some of this / I teach and speak so when it’s spoke, it’s no joke!” I’m sure there are a lot of rappers out there who can attest to the fact that Chuck D replaced their father’s advice with his own philosophies through the music of Public Enemy at times. I know he did that for me!

Interview by Kyle Eustice.