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Fight the Power: Rap, Race, and Reality [Paperback]

Chuck D , Yusaf Jah

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Book Description

8 Sep 1998
Like the hard-hitting sounds of a Public Enemy jam, the words of the band's lead singer, Chuck D, excite the mind and senses.  In his first book, Chuck D pours out commentary that takes on Hollywood, race, the music industry, the murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., drugs, and the three E's--education, economics and enforcement.  Likening the challenge to "scaling a slick mountain on roller skates," Chuck D lets no one off the hook, putting celebrities and street kids alike on notice that the future is up for grabs...and the only way to be part of it, to be players not victims, is to work together.

As an insider's view on Hip-Hop culture slides into intimate revelations about his own life, as lyrics from his songs bump shoulders with top ten lists like "The Greatest Rappers of All Time," Chuck D has his say with verve and electrifying energy, with anger, love and truth.  A book that brings light into darkness, Fight the Power speaks for a generation.  It is a powerful and prophetic message that America, both Black and White, urgently needs to hear.

Nightline with Chuck as the featured guest.

His rejection of celebrity and his constant community activism have made him a hero. For the past five years he's been touring colleges and universities, delivering three hour lectures on everything from the music industry's corruption of young talent, the history of black music from Blues to Rap, his own controversial lyrics, problems in the black community, self-empowerment, contemporary culture and current political leaders to Public Enemy's rise to international stardom. All while maintaining his solo and Public Enemy's recording careers.

Fight the Power examines a multitude of complex social, racial and artistic issues. In his unmistakable voice, Chuck discusses the role of heroes and role models in the black community, Hollywood's negative images of blacks, the effect of gangsta rap, its images on the country's youth and the war between east and west coast rappers that may have spawned the murder of Tupac Shakur, the role of athletes and entertainers in eroding and strengthening values, and other vital contemporary concerns. Candid, thoughtful, and in your face, Fight the Power, the first substantial book by a rapper, offers readers a look into the culture of hip hop and the future of Black culture. -->

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fight the Power Analysis 8 Jan 2001
By Aaron Dolezal - Published on Amazon.com
Fight The Power, by Chuck D examined everything in the current world today from the education system right down to where he thinks our culture is headed and why. Chuck D breaks everything down in the world and examines it to the fullest. At first glance it may seem like he is a grumpy, washed up rapper but look closer and you will find so much more meaning in the words than you can possibly imagine. Like in the following quote, "Whatever you do, don't go to war for your country." Chuck D is very opinonated and set in his ways. He goes into a full chapter about why you shouldn't be in the army because it changes you forever and how you will never be the same. Therefore, he also shows how the army tricks you by coming to your school and showing all this glitz and glamor to you. People shooting big guns, driving tanks, waving the american flag which essentially is not what the army is like at all. It's very gratifying that a successful rapper has finally released a book like this. It's a great break from the mundane evening news and daily paper. And in the following quote, "There's only a few serious black roles on TV. We have to put pressure on the networks and station groups where pressure hurts." Chuck D make his book universal by showing both sides of the issue and he shows the reader what can be done to help rectify the current problems he addresses in his book Fight The Power. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes any kind of hip-hop or anyone who wants a break from their day to day life and have a great read and whats wrong with our culture and what we can do to help it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rap the truth about the game... ChuckD keeps it real 4 Sep 2004
By Marie N. Pierre - Published on Amazon.com
This was an honest account about one of the Iconz of the rap game. He gave a background about his family life that took us back to the 1960s in New York City. He was a cool kid who got in heavy into the hip hop game from college. Perhaps that set the tone for the book in my view. For Chuck D. Rap and Hip Hop are educational vehicle more than just news reporters about urban life. He insisted that only through education and higher learning are black folks in oppressive conditions around the world and mostly in the inner cities ever going to free themselves. I especially enjoyed the international aspects of his experience with Public Enemy. He loved travelling and rapping around the world from the US to Asia and Europe and the Motherland-Africa. Chuck should have a permanent position in a Comparative Studies program at a university. He lectures regularly at colleges which he wrote about in the book. I wish that he had written about his encounters with the students and the fans at concerts. Some of the highlights were his comments about his days as a DJ, opening and travelling with BONO of U2, Travelling to Africa-Ghana, specifically and his encounters with the press especially the troubles with being accused of anti-semitism.

Public Enemy was an experiment about the truth. They were a group of brothers who loved the game of Hip Hop and wanted it to grow so they did something about it by making opportunity and taking the ones that were offered. It was enlightening to read about the record deal with Def Jam and their relationship with Russel Simmons (he could have elaborated more about that). In the end I learn that rap (the old 80's & 90s style)was primarily a strong means of communicating a message about the conditions of life for young urban black (males).

I wish that Chuck D. would have addressed the issue of black on black that was so prevalent in the 1980s New York. I was dissappointed that he shied away from African American negative reactions to Haitians in particular. I mention this because Chuck D. is an Afrocentric who sees himself as an internationalist. However, he is mute when this perspective is not well received by others in his group.

There were practically no mentions of Christopher Wallace or Biggy Smalls, Lil' Kim, or the ill nana and many others who were well known in New York and in Hip Hop at the time. Published in 1997 I expected more about the violence within Hip Hop and some thoughts on how to solve it.Also, there was no accompanying cd. This would have been great. A sample of selected cuts from Public Enemy.

Finally, the structure of the book was well thought out. It was very influenced by newspaper and magazine layouts. On various pages some of his words were highlighted in and he listed his all time favorite Hip Hop artists and their work throughout the book. In all, the layout was a winner. We need a sequel from a now elder spokesman of the hip hop game about what has happenned since 1997 and the new involvement of hip hop in politics.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pleasant surprise 19 Oct 2000
By Duane G. Aubin - Published on Amazon.com
Chuck D takes his talent with words from the mike to the pen, sharing his views on these current topics.
Although he writes as he speaks, with a..."colourful" vocabulary, I found that the tone is one of urgency, such that if the language is distracting, the reader hasn't grasped the gravity of the content.
Chuck D and Public Enemy continue to produce music for higher purposes than simply to make money and entertain; they clearly wish to educate, stimulate and elevate any who are willing to seriously look at what's going on in our world.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, insightful stuff. 12 Jun 2000
By Jonathan Ashley - Published on Amazon.com
Been a huge PE fan for years. Gotta agree with someone earlier that he focuses on black/white problems too much, when his arguments could be used for poor/rich as well. But the points he brings up about the black community and relationto white america are absolutely 100% correct, and I'm just wondering if that is a problem with the other reviewr. Also at points it seems like he is just bouncing ideas off of the wall that he isn't entirely sure if he agrees with the things he's saying. But overall it gets a rise out of you on topics like, atheletes, entertainment, and music, and what America does to represent these things (and vice versa). Good stuff!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fight the Politics 6 Jan 2012
By Azazm333 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I only gave this book 4 stars because aside from the rappers personal opinions, he does give a very extensive focus into the rap world at a time when his group Public Enemy were in full effect. My second reason is because the book is written well to point of me actually hearing Chuck's voice while taking me down memory lane. Third reason is the rapper's suggested reading list at the end of the book which holds a lot gems in it. Fourth, it's Chuck D.
However the book is not without it's flaws. Knowing what Public Enemy's about, you already have an idea of what you're getting into.
But I will say that thankfully, race relations have improved drastically over the years since this book was written. Sure things are not socially perfect but I find that people are more open and accepting of others than they were 20 years ago. I feel that he points the fingers at certain people which is typical of certain African American's who want go over the obvious of things without properly going after those within the African American community who keep the mindset stuck on poverty, ignorance and general laziness.
I would say use your own discretion but overall, it's not a bad book, just don't believe the hype.
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