Chuck D: I Want to Change the Face of Urban Radio

Public Enemy frontman explains why radio needs an overhaul, calls out Hot 97 again.

Posted: 06/10/2014 10:29 AM EDT
Chuck D

Urban radio needs a change and Chuck D is ready to spearhead the movement, the Public Enemy co-founder told Billboard in an interview last Sunday (June 8). 

"My goal by year's end is to change the face and sound of urban radio," he explained. "I've been in this s--- 30 years, too long to just sit and let it be. I'm not going to be the grim reaper. I don't want to be the grim reaper. But people have to stand up and we need some change, and it's time."

Hot 97's Summer Jam concert earlier in the month was "the last straw" Chuck D said, in reference to artists like Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent and others using the n-word during their performances. After the show, he accused the radio station of making a "sloppy fiasco" of hip hop.

"That s--- is over," he noted of using the racial slur. "If there was a festival and it was filled with anti-Semitic slurs ... or racial slurs at anyone but Black people, what do you think would happen? Why does there have to be such a double standard?" 

He also said that the New York radio station should've had a more diverse roster of local artists on the Summer Jam bill, and that there needs to be a "greater representation of the culture and community" on Hot 97.  

However, he doesn't blame the station's on-air personalities like Ebro Darden. He and Darden went back and forth on Twitter after Summer Jam, but Chuck D's issue is not with the faces of the station, it's with their bosses. "That's where the discussion needs to go," he said, adding that he would never have an actual sit-down with radio bigwigs. "I don't have time for that. I don't have to show 'em s---; they're grown people. I ain't wasting my time." 

What he will do is observe the situation "from afar" and continue to speak out to evoke some form of change. If he doesn't see an improvement, he is fully prepared to "destroy the platform of urban radio."

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(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

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