For anyone that still has issues with a rap act being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, you’re missing the point.
One of the elements that’s sorely missing in contemporary rock is the ability to freak people, especially parents, out.
One of the last recording artists to legitimately frighten folks is Public Enemy.
Let’s go back to the summer of 1990 when Chuck D rapped about fear, baby. Public Enemy was touring behind its masterpiece “Fear Of a Black Planet” and many were taken aback by the act, which redefined a young, vital genre.
Dates were cancelled but Public Enemy, delivered its most incendiary material, “Welcome to the Terrordome,” “Burn Hollywood Burn” and the anthemic “Fight The Power,” which was penned for the provocative Spike Lee movie, “Do The Right Thing” during that landmark tour.
There was no doubt then what was on Chuck D’s mind as the words that emanated from his mouth were like bullets to some as he grabbed the attention of the hip hop world and beyond.
“You know what I think,” Chuck D said. “That’s just me but I don’t think a lot of MCs write what they truly believe today.”
That’s on the money since so many hip-hop artists rap about conspicuous consumption and other fluffy insignificant topics.
“That’s a problem,” Chuck D said. “I think that’s what happens when you sell out to corporations.”
Public Enemy, which was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in April, has been consistently crafting deep, dense hip-hop for more than a quarter century, while many of its former peers are history.
“I think it’s important to not repeat yourself,” Chuck D said. “I think that’s part of the reason we’re still together. It doesn’t matter if people want to hear the same thing, you need to do something different. You need to move on to something else and forget about what worked and might have became popular.”
Public Enemy, which includes the oft-hilarious MC Flavor Flav, whose comic sensibility complements Chuck D perfectly, released a pair of solid albums, “Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp” (a reference to a memorable “Fight The Power” lyric) and “The Evil Empire of Everything.”
The seminal Public Enemy, which is part of the Kings of the Mic Tour, which will stop Thursday at the Mahaffey Theater will not go on a nostalgia trip, even though that’s the story for many of the acts that are in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
“There is something about remaining relevant and continuing to be creative,” Chuck D said. “We can’t shut that off. People will continue to come out to see us since people are attracted to the truth.”
LEGENDS OF THE MIC TOUR
With Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Ice Cube and De La Soul
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg
Tickets: $69.50, $59.50, $49.50; (727) 893-7832 and www.themahaffeytheater.com