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Snippet of Crime in Music: Flavor Flav and Chuck D Form Public Enemy in 1985

From Audio: 046 - I'm Flavor Flav and I'm NOT an Enemy of the Public Anymore!

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Crime In Music
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Duration: 09:22
Hear how Flavor Flav and Chuck D formed the group Public Enemy.
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Hear how Flavor Flav and Chuck D formed the group Public Enemy.
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moment. 1964 age five. Speaking of performances, Billy is a musical prodigy. He sings in the youth choir at his church. Um, he taught himself how to play the piano. And according to Chuck D. Fellow Public Enemy member, Billy is proficient in 15 different instruments. Are you serious? Yep. He plays shit like the oboe and all sorts of stuff, and he's a really talented pianist. He's really that's awesome. I did not know that I I have respect for entertainers that know how to play an instrument other than look, look funny and sing, you know, whatever. Correct, you wouldn't expect flavor, flavor flavor to come sit up at the piano and done done, done like Chopin or something like that, right? Yeah, that's why they're some of my more, uh, folks in the music industry I've enjoyed listening to. The most are the They're main focuses is singing or dancing or whatever, but they can also frickin shred on a guitar or in the keyboard or something, or both in trouble too Well, this is probably more what you were expecting to hear about Billy. As a small child, he set the house on fire while playing with a lighter quote. Quote from Billy on the situation. Quote. I set her house on fire when I was a little kid playing with lighters. Boy, did I burn that place down. He did. He did burn it down. Yeah, burned down. It's gon burn it. Burn in 11th grade. We're jumping up here in 11th grade. He drops out of Freeport High School, and by that time he had sort of been in and out of jail a little bit. He had strung together a couple short jail stints for, like, robbery and burglary like nothing crazy crazy. But, you know, I don't want to call it kid stuff, but he's getting there to the He's certain slide. Yeah, he's getting in trouble like kids do. There you go. 1978 age 19. Billy goes to culinary school. Wow. Jack of many trades. What I'm saying, right? While it's ending Adelphia University on Long Island, He meets a guy named Carlton Ridenhour. You know Carlton Ridenhour? No, No. Okay. Uh, he's a graphic design student. He's also known as Chuck D. Okay. Yeah, I know that name. All right. I mean, none of the rap names are ever their real name. Really? I don't think Eminem is his real name. And I don't know if Dre is a doctor. He's a He's a beat doctor. I guess so. Is Mike Tyson okay? Eminem is at least Eminem. Marshall Mathers M m Mark get it? I never put that together. I just You didn't know that I see all the ease like e n e m e. And I'm like, Dude, that's a lot of these there. I I was just thinking like a biggie. I don't think of the EMS. I've never Thanks, man. Brian just got a little educ education there. Yeah, man. Funny crack on the knowledge. I appreciate that. All right, so those two bond quickly over music like Eminem and Dre. So you got Chuck D and Flavor there doing their thing in college. Um, Billy graduates from culinary school. So he is a graduate of culinary school. Uh, they start collaborating on music. They start Chuck D's got this hip hop college radio show, and Billy would come in and like they started rapping together on the show. Um, I keep calling him Billy. You know, we're talking about flavor flavor. Billy, um, used to be a graffiti artist. He would go out there and spray paint tags and stuff and flavor flavor was his graffiti tag. So So just to kind of back up a little bit for all of our listeners that may have been with us since the vanilla ice days. Uh, the part of the hip hop underground sort of hip hop thing was music, dancing and graffiti, Right? That's it. Those are the three tenants of I think it's hip hop R B boy or something like that. You gotta really be focused on one of them, but be able to do all three. It's like kung fu training like you got a crane style and lizard style and snake style and which, which I I remember when we were talking about. I just found out I'm like handling okay, dancing and music. I get that those two go together like you know, peas and carrots, but spray painting a water tower. That's part of your I don't get that part, Whatever. All right, go over to the train yard and bring a couple cans of spray paint with you. Could have been like the Blues Brothers and brushed it on there like, Well, they didn't and back then and invent spray cans. They did have spray cans because Ellwood had the spray can of glue glue. Good stuff. Our 1985 more good stuff. Age. 26. Carlton and Billy form Public Enemy. Just the two of them. Um well, yes, so far, it's just two of the college radio show. After Chuck graduates, he and Billy get jobs delivering furniture for Chuck's dad. Uh, he's got this U haul truck that they rent, and so they started the band. You know how you got to have a job to play in a band that's paying the bills. So when they were hauling the furniture, wood would, uh, Billy just look at Chuck and just go chuck it over there and Chuck would go, Yeah, boy, he's like, I like that. I like that. How that sounds, um, around this time, besides a wonderful conversation in the truck. Those two also started to collaborate musically with these other couple of dudes. Norman Rogers, a k, a. Terminator X, and Richard Griffin, a k A. Professor Griff. So that's the traditional, uh, public enemy you're probably used to hearing about. Yeah, and and? And I like that. The Griffins. Last name was Griffin. Anyone with Griff? I like you gotta have a little tie in there, you know? No. Right. Yeah. Call back. If you were, um, these guys would help round out that sound they were looking for in the public enemy line up, and they start making beats and tunes. Gotta have beats and tunes. One of their early demo tapes finds its way to the offices of this new record label that no one's ever heard of called Def Jam Records. I've still never heard of it. You've heard of Def Jam record? I've heard of it. Okay, I was going to say And then there's this founder guy that everybody in rap should know about named Rick Rubin. Yeah, that name has been around for a long time. A big old white guy with a big, huge, like biker beard. And, uh, he's really famous in the rap world. You might know him from Beastie Boys like he's a producer for a lot. A lot of the Beastie Boys stuff. Hey, I saw some Beastie Boys documentaries coming out or something here soon. Oh, yeah. And like apple or or you or something Cool. I'll have to check it. I want to check that out because, you know, they do interviews with the remaining Beastie Boys because one's dead, right? Yeah. Two out of three. Yeah. There's a song. Two out of three. Alright. So Rick Rubin, big bearded white dude, 19. 86. Rick Ruben likes what he hears. He signs a deal with the guys on. Initially, Rick didn't understand what Billy did in the act. He's like, What do you do? Because, like, Billy is in a group of rappers, you got your main rapper you've got, um, they have different jobs. So, like some dudes will be what they call the sidemen, like, you know, or the hype man. And that's what really did. So let's say you're the main dude you're out there, Chuck D not wrapping militant angry stuff, whatever you're about. And then I would be the hype man and I'll be like, Yep, yep, what? You know, like so Rick Rubin's like looking, he's like, I'm gonna give you a bunch of money inside a record deal. Why is this guy? It's like the dancing guy and the money Money Boss Tones. You're like, Why is he part of the band? Why is he getting cut? He's It's a stage performance. Yeah. No, it is right. It's It is live performance. So Rick is like, you know, I just signed Chuck to a solo deal, and, uh, Chuck being a good friend, that he is insisted that Billy and the rest of the guys be signed with them. So they all signed to Def Jam. And now you've got official public Enemy lineup 1987. The group releases its first album. Yo, bum Rush The show. Remember that one? No. Called. Okay. On the record, Billy serves as a comic guy to chuck these, like, serious political stuff. I mean, are you familiar with public enemy? You know what we grew up with? Uh, they were probably putting out some vinyl early in the time where I probably wasn't allowed to listen to some of that music. So by the time I got old enough where I could buy my own stuff, it was probably a little older, so we weren't listened to as much public enemy. Um I don't know When? When we're their albums getting released in the late eighties. Late eighties. So yeah, we're in 6th, 7th grade, and I don't have a car to drive to the, you know, jelly bean record store and get myself some two live crew or anything Corolla we had we had to rely on, like, older brothers to slip us an old a tape and listen to some, you know, music that said the f word. Oh, yeah, yeah. No, I think this was before parental advisory was like a big thing. Oh, yeah. It was about this time that you started getting Tipper Gore and parental advisory labels and stuff like that. Maybe that Tipper Gore but stuff. Right, So they released first album. Yo, bum rush the show. It's like Death row. What a brother. No, um, I'm gonna just randomly spout out when I see lyrics that I remember from public Enemy
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